VA one of few agencies Trump recommends for budget increase
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday proposed a 6 percent boost in funding in 2018 for the Department of Veterans Affairs – one of the few significant increases in a budget blueprint that includes cuts to most federal agencies.
Trump’s budget outline requests $78.9 billion in discretionary funding for the VA, $4.4 billion more than was approved in 2017. But the proposal falls short of what veterans organizations requested in their annual set of published recommendations compiled by Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and paralyzed Veterans of America.
The recommendations, known as the Independent Budget, call for an approximately 10 percent increase in discretionary spending, for a total of $88.9 billion.
“But it is encouraging, and we’re hopeful,” said Joy Ilem, legislative director for Disabled American Veterans. “We know there’s a lot of issues that VA needs to address, they have a lot of pressure on them to turn things around and we’re anxious to look at the full budget and how it breaks down.”
Besides the VA, Trump’s budget would increase funds for the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Other federal agencies would see budget reductions to offset the increases. Funding to 19 smaller agencies and programs would be cut altogether. That list includes the Interagency Council on Homelessness, which provides strategies for ending veteran homelessness.
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