Veterans Bill Needs Offsets

The Senate is set to vote on the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021, which provides health and disability to veterans who may have been exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits, while reclassifying some discretionary (appropriated) funding as mandatory. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this bill would increase spending by nearly $300 billion over the next decade, while making up to $400 billion of discretionary spending mandatory, and thus putting it on auto-pilot. The legislation does not currently include any offsetting spending reductions or revenue. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Caring for our veterans should be among the highest priorities as a nation, and if something is worth doing it’s worth paying for. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to identify the necessary offsets to fund this legislation.

With inflation at a 40-year high and debt approaching record levels, now is not the time to engage in hundreds of billions of dollars in further borrowing. Nor should we be putting more of the budget on auto-pilot at a time when we need more budget flexibility, not less.

Rather than adding more to the national credit card, lawmakers should prove veterans are truly a priority by putting forward the spending reductions or tax increases necessary to fully offset this bill.


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