VFW TALKING PAPER ON SEQUESTRATION
October 25, 2012
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Budget Control Act of 2011 raised the federal debt ceiling on an agreement to
offset the increase with a corresponding decrease in discretionary spending
over a 10-year period. A bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit
Reduction was created to identify what federal accounts to reduce. As an
added incentive, an automatic 10 percent across-the-board sequester—or seizure
of property (money)—would kick in at the beginning of the next Congress should
the Super Committee fail to act, which it did. Barring an unforeseen
development in the remaining 112th Congress, mandatory sequestration will occur
in January 2013.
All discretionary spending accounts.
The discretionary spending accounts of the Departments of Veterans Affairs and
Defense. The President and VA Secretary have assured us that
sequestration will not impact any VA account. We appreciate this, but VFW
will continue to monitor how the effects of sequestration might impact future
VA budgets, especially in medical and prosthetics research, maintenance and
construction, administration, and those programs identified in the “10 for 10”
VFW is very concerned how sequestration will impact DOD. The Pentagon
agreed to cut its discretionary budget by $487 billion over 10 years, but the
total amount due is $1.2 trillion, and some in Congress want DOD to absorb the
entire amount. Defense is 20 percent of the federal budget, but it
amounts to half of all discretionary spending (the other half includes NASA,
Homeland Security, etc.). Absorbing a $1.2 trillion cut would be a game
changer that would not only eliminate Quality of Life programs for military
personnel and their families, it could potentially jeopardize our military’s
ability to respond when and where needed.
focus last year was on the “10 for 10” Plan, which are 10 DOD and VA programs
and services that we continue to believe are in jeopardy of increased fees or
being eliminated or curtailed to help pay for 10 years of war. Sequestration
keeps all 10 on the radarscope. They are:
the 20-year military retirement plan to resemble civilian plans.
healthcare premiums for military families and retirees on TRICARE.
pharmaceutical fees for military families and retirees.
cost-of-living allowance increases.
government subsidies to military commissaries.
DOD elementary schools stateside.
DOD tuition reimbursement programs for service members.
presumptive service-connected conditions for disabled and ill veterans.
out or increase fees for VA Priority Group 7 and 8 veterans.
freeze military pay like federal civilian pay, which will now see a third
consecutive year without a raise.
YOU CAN DO:
Address our concerns with your elected officials at every opportunity.
Current budget realities are forcing very hard choices in Congress and in
agencies and departments across the executive branch. The VFW recognizes
this, but we also recognize that balancing the budget on the backs of disabled
veterans, those in uniform, their families, and military retirees is not a
solution, and could potentially jeopardize the continued success and viability
of the all-volunteer force. One loud unified voice will ensure all in Washington
know that the VFW will not tolerate any plan that requires those who serve and
sacrifice the most to do even more.
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