But Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., argued Tuesday that such spending cuts would cause other veterans programs to be cut and trigger a "hole of $10 billion" in appropriations.
The Post reports, "The opposition to the funding plan is the latest demonstration of Trump’s variable approach to the longtime stated Republican goal of fiscal discipline. On some issues, most prominently last year’s $1.5 trillion tax bill or immigration measures such as the border wall, Trump has signed off on legislation projected to massively increase the federal deficit. On others, such as the veterans bill and emergency legislation to support communities impacted by last year’s devastating hurricanes and the California wildfires, he has demanded offsetting spending cuts."
Most of the legislation's costs come from allowing veterans to see doctors operating outside the VA system, a move designed partly to resolve complaints from rural veterans that they have difficulty making and keeping appointments. Phillip Carter, a senior researcher at nonprofit think tank the Rand Corp., told the Post that the bill could increase demand for medical care at VA hospitals, since alleviating the backlog would encourage more veterans to seek health care. The bill to fund the veterans health care bill has been attached to the VA appropriations bill and could be up for debate soon, the Post reports.