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Trump's budget plan calls for another increase in VA spending

Dateline: 2/11/2020

(By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s funding plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs includes a 13% increase for medical services, making it one of the only agencies to receive an overall boost in fiscal year 2021 under his plan.

If enacted by Congress, Trump’s budget would make the VA the second-largest federal agency in terms of discretionary budget and number of employees. While his spending plan increases the VA budget, it includes cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services, which currently has the second-largest discretionary budget behind the Department of Defense.

The president proposed $109.5 billion in discretionary funding for the VA, including $90 billion for medical care. Additionally, the VA has about $134 billion in mandatory funding to be spent on veterans’ benefits.

“The budget request will ensure veterans and their families experience health improvements and technological modernization advancements,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “That’s evidenced by the increase in budget funds we’re receiving – that not only increase health care services and benefits to veterans but also allow the VA to lead the way in forward-thinking innovation.”

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