VA Dodges Sequestration Axe – For Now

Yesterday the Office of Management and Budget released a letter responding to a request for their official view on whether or not VA healthcare programs would be exempt from the impact of the looming sequestration.

[Sequestration refers to the automatic $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts in  defense and nondefense discretionary spending that will go into effect as a result of the Budget Control Act, passed in August of 2011. Sequestration is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.]

OMB’s letter is a difficult read, but if you wade through it, you will find OMB’s response.  “…the conclusion we [OMB] have reached is that ALL [emphasis added] programs administered by the VA, including Veterans’ Medical Care program exempt from sequestration…”

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, who has been pushing OMB for a determination since late last summer, responded to OMB’s letter saying, “This decision, nine months in coming and after numerous Congressional inquiries and my own letter to the President in January, is long overdue.”

While this is welcome news to most vets, Rep. Miller pointed out that some of the language in the OMB letter appears to “leave the door open” to other ways to sequester the VA’s budget.

Miller is referring to a parenthetical portion of the OMB’s conclusion in which the Deputy General Counsel wrote that the OMB’s response does not address other potential sequester questions under previous budget laws like the Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and the Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. (Read the full OMB Letter)

Miller stated that leaving the door open to other legal avenues to sequester VA, is not acceptable. Adding that he is committed passing Protect VA Healthcare Act of 2012 (H.R. 3895) to “ensure America’s veterans receive the benefits they have rightfully earned today, and in the future.”

Let your elected officials know how you feel about the need to protect VA healthcare programs from future budget cuts.



About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • Tom

    This is the normal rat way Obama operates at this is no surprise what so ever.He is doing it with the health care scam to use this to get at the 2nd amendment and more taxes.We as Americans better wake up soon and vote him out because if he is president after the elections he is going to screw this country big time and without a kiss either.

  • Don Esco

    The second amendment is required to keep Americans FREE. Turn the clock back to 1775. If our Country founders had no guns to fight for Freedom then.
    Do you realize that today we would be bowing to the Queen of England.

    Don’t let power hungry politicians take our guns away.

    • yoda454


  • Kenneth T Smid

    Keeping a promise to the military is not what the current administration is doing.
    The VA entitlements were put in place to aid a military member who had suffer wounds or physical chronic illnesses encountered while on active duty. They have gone where directed, without hesitation, to very hazardous combat zones across this world. They deserve to be treated with dignity. They are among the 1% of this nation that go to war, as directed by their Command and Chief and DOD leaders. Please note that Title 10 as pertains to recoupment of separation pay for voluntary or involuntary separations for members honorably discharged and than apply for VA disability compensation also needs not be SEQUESTERED. Currently, any separation money received after tax is recouped. The money given to the member is readily used to make payments on bills, housing, shelter, food, medical expenses (while the VA processes claims etc) for ones self and family. To give the money and then take it back is a tragedy. Title 10, Chapter 59, Section 1175a(h)(4) (Voluntary) and Title 10, Chapter 59, Section 1174 (a)(h)(2) (Involuntary) needs to be updated/changed and waivers put in place by each applicable Secretary.

    A precedent on 17 Oct 2007 was made by the Sec of AF Michael W Wynne when he waived recoupment for voluntary separation for those that applied for VA disability. However to the best of my knowledge it did not apply to involuntary separation for members receiving a honorable discharge because of mandated congressional year end strength levels. They are separated without any early retirement compensation. This needs to be resolved and your help is appreciated for all veterans affected by these conflicting laws.

  • Dave Britton

    Everyone want to blame Obama, why not put the blame where it belongs. Congress need to be voted out and replaced with members who cares about the country not their party!!!!

  • Michael852

    Of course it’s part of the sequestration. How else can the President and his political cronies continue to get the money to dole out to pay for welfare votes and billion give aways to companies that contribute to his political campaign.

    • retiree

      Since sequestration is a Congressional action, dictated by the CBA (passed last August) as a requirement on Congress by Congress and a result of Congress not following through on designing cuts they directed themselves to make last December, how is the President involved?

  • yoda454


  • retiree


    1. In case you didn’t notice, 55% of the discretionary budget is DoD. No matter who is in charge, if we want to balance the budget, DoD will get cut.

    2. Sequestration is a Congressional action – they imposed limits on themselves and did not meet their deadlines. President Obama, last I looked, was not in Congress.

    3. Please go to the library and read up on socialism (not what you read on the random blogs on the internet, but by political scientists and economists). Then you may understand socialism is NOT narcissism.

  • Lyla

    Just heard on C-Span those of the policy commission are planning to cut retirememnt/ disability health benefits BIG TIME to the effect that “even the stores around the bases will go out of business.” He said “It will hit them hard and they are not suspecting it.” “Many on line to lose their jobs.” What I just heard.


    The biggest recipients of welfare are not minorities. African American comprises less than fifteen percent of the U.S. population. Almost 75% of the U.S. population is white. To further educate you, minorities did not elect President Obama. The biggest recipients of welfare are the rich. Do your home work, before you start slinging mud.

  • Lenny

    Mitt Romney knows and understands the plight of the poor and DAV. I spent 2 yrs. working around Utah.This guy Romney will take us down. I call him “Puddin Pants” .Just watch him walk. BUY AMERICAN.!!