April 24, 2012

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today welcomed the announcement from White House budget officials that funding for veterans' health care programs will not be subject to automatic budget cuts. The announcement follows a bill introduced in February by Shaheen and U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Begich (D-AK) that ensured that health care for U.S. veterans would be fully exempt from any across-the-board cuts to federal spending mandated by last year’s bipartisan deal on the debt limit. 

 “I am pleased that the government is honoring its contract with veterans by continuing to provide our brave men and women with the health care they have earned through their service,” Shaheen said. “Congress intended that veterans’ health care be excluded from cuts, and I am glad servicemen and women, and their families, now have this important reassurance.”

The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires automatic budget cuts over 10 years totaling $1.2 trillion to begin in 2013 unless Congress passes specific deficit reduction measures.  While Congressional intent under BCA was to protect veterans’ health care, until now it was unclear what would actually happen.

Veterans’ pension and disability compensation benefits have always been exempt from the automatic cuts. Shaheen’s bill was not an attempt to change any portion of the Budget Control Act, but rather to preserve its original intent, which was to protect veterans’ health benefits.

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