Today, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing on President Obama's recently released Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget request. VA Secretary Shinseki, VA leaders and veteran service organizations all testified at today's full committee hearing. The overall VA budget request for fiscal year 2014 is $152.7 billion.
"Especially during a time of austerity, this request for a VA funding increase represents our nation's ongoing commitment to those who have served and sacrificed," said Ranking Member Rep. Mike Michaud (ME-02). "I'm hopeful this funding level provides VA the resources to fully follow through on initiatives they instituted to reduce the growing claims backlog. Our committee will maintain a constant dialogue with the VA on the progress of their transformation plan in an effort to ensure their goals are met."
The Administration's budget includes a proposal to utilize what is called a "chained CPI" in place of the current method of calculating inflation. This proposal could impact a number of federal programs, including Social Security and VA benefits. Michaud expressed his concern over the proposal during today's hearing.
"I line up with our veterans' groups and our seniors in opposing this proposal," said Michaud. "While the details of it are still being reviewed, I'm not convinced it's a fair way to calculate inflation. It could have a real and damaging effect on our veterans and their families."