What is in the budget request for veterans and servicemembers

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What is in the budget request for veterans and servicemembers

Somewhat of a slow news day, other than the Olympics pretty much the budget is all that is worth talking about.  So, figured I would do a quick post on what it means for military readiness and veterans.

Two articles, the first from Stripes:

The Department of Veterans Affairs would get another multibillion-dollar increase in 2019 under President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal, which includes cuts to domestic agencies and social programs while boosting spending for defense, homeland security and the VA.

There is some unpopular stuff in there too:

The White House is again offering a controversial proposal to round-down cost-of-living adjustments to the nearest dollar amount for all veterans who receive disability compensation. The practice was standard until 2013, and there have been numerous attempts to reinstate it.

It’s an unpopular idea among veterans service organizations that don’t want to see any decrease to veterans’ benefits, but the White House argues the round-down would have minimal effect on veterans. The budget document estimated the change would cost each veteran about $12 a year and would save the VA $34 million in 2019 and nearly $2.3 billion over the next 10 years.

But VA is looking at a pretty good boost:

Trump’s VA budget includes $511 million for gender-specific health care for women, $510 million for caregivers’ benefits, $172.1 million for the Office of Inspector General to increase oversight efforts and $727 million for medical and prosthetics research. Programs targeting homeless and at-risk veterans would get $1.8 billion.

Mental health care, Shulkin’s top clinical priority, would see a spending boost of $468 million over 2018, for a total $8.6 billion. Information technology -- a problem area for the VA -- would get a $129 million increase over the current fiscal year, for a total $4.2 billion.

Military Times focuses slightly more on the active duty side of it:

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget would give service members a 2.6 percent pay raise and add 24,100 more troops to the services’ end strength, according to documents from the Pentagon…

The 2.6 percent pay raise proposal would be the highest troops have seen since 2010.

And, after a period of contraction in endstrength numbers, looks like we are growing again:

The Air Force would gain 4,000 active duty forces to grow to 329,100 airmen, or a gain of about 1 percent.

The Navy would gain almost 7,500 active duty forces to grow to 335,400 sailors, or a gain of about 2 percent.

The Marine Corps would gain 1,100 active duty forces to grow to 186,100, or about 1 percent.

The Army would gain 11,500 active duty forces to grow to 487,500, or about 2 percent growth.

Again, this is just a budget request, and there is a LONG way to go before it becomes law.  Will be interesting to hear the Appropriations testimony and see what the Congress eventually brings forward.

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Retired from military in 1991, and the VA in 2016. We have been waiting to long waiting on the money and support from congress to make sure the our nation has the best equipped military possible. Technology is not the only means of protecting this country and our service men and women are the brains
and boots that make that a reality.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.