VA gets Shorted $2.6 Billion while Obama Admin Budgets $4.5 Billion on Syrians Migrants
House lawmakers say the Veterans Affairs Department’s $2.6 billion budget shortfall for this fiscal year is further proof of administrators’ incompetence and poor planning.
VA officials have a slightly different take, saying the shortfall is a sign of their extraordinary efforts to get veterans the medical care they need, regardless of the cost.
Either way, the department has a gigantic deficit to fill in the next three months. A bigger difficulty on the next page:
Yes, it could get bigger.
It also could mean furloughs, hiring freezes and program cancellations if a solution can’t be found.
“We are going to do the right thing for veterans and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. “But to succeed, we need the flexibility to use funds to meet veterans needs as they arise.”
Without that, he said, “we get to dire circumstances before August. We will have to start denying care to some veterans.”
Lawmakers were enraged that the department is only now informing them of significant shortfalls in this year’s budget, with the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
“I have come to expect a startling lack of transparency and accountability from VA over the last years,” said committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “But failing to inform Congress of a multibillion-dollar funding deficit
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