VA, DHS FY 2013 Budgets
Chris Slawinski, FRA’s National Veterans Service Officer, and Director of Legislative Programs John Davis attended a budget briefing on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) FY 2013 budget this week. Unlike the Defense budget, the Administration’s VA budget request includes a 10.5-percent increase ($140.3 billion) over the current fiscal year and also contains $54.5 billion in advanced appropriations for VA health care in FY 2014. Funding for non-VA outpatient care is increased by almost 14 percent over the FY 2012 budget. The increased funding is in response to estimates that more than one million current active duty personnel will become veterans over the next five years.
The budget also addresses a number of other VA priorities, including efforts to reduce the backlog of unresolved disability claims and reduce unemployment and homelessness among veterans.
In related news, the U. S. Coast Guard’s FY 2013 budget, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget request, is reduced from $8.6 billion for the current fiscal year (FY 2012) to $8.3 Billion for FY 2013. The plan also calls for manpower reductions of 1,000. FRA is concerned about the budget plan and will share its recommendations with the service’s oversight committees in the coming months.