This bill contains a ton of waste. Of course, anyone who questions the underhanded motive of sneaking wasteful spending into a “Veteran’s Bill” gets criticized. Make sure you do your homework before you go along with something that’s labeled for “veterans”.
Committee for a Responsible Budget
The Senate is expected to vote on the Honoring our PACT Act this week, which would add at least $277 billion to deficits through 2031 and would increase mandatory spending by up to $667 billion. The legislation would expand health and disability benefits to veterans who have (or are presumed to have) been exposed to toxic substances while on their tours of duty and have been diagnosed with health ailments as a result.
However, the bill itself does not include any offsets to pay for these new benefits, which would cost nearly $300 billion over a decade. The bill would also allow policymakers to reclassify nearly $400 billion of projected discretionary spending as mandatory, which would both reduce the pressure to keep those costs under control and make it easier for appropriators to spend more elsewhere in the budget without offsets.
The largest elements of the legislation would expand Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits at a cost of $153 billion over a decade and expand access to VA health benefits at a cost of $102 billion. Although VA health benefits are generally accounted for on the discretionary side of the budget, the legislation effectively allows all VA health spending above Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 nominal levels to be funded with mandatory funding. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this could result in up to $390 billion of existing discretionary funding being reclassified as mandatory, which would put it on autopilot and allow it to escape scrutiny during the annual appropriations process.
The ultimate deficit impact of the legislation is difficult to predict because it requires making assumptions about the composition of future appropriations and the behavior of future policymakers. At a minimum, based on CBO’s score, the bill would boost deficits by $277 billion over a decade, including by $55 billion in 2031. However, the legislation would also shift up to $390 billion from discretionary spending to mandatory, resulting in a total mandatory spending increase of $667 billion over a decade, including by $119 billion in 2031.
As a result, the ultimate deficit impact of the legislation will likely fall somewhere between $277 billion and $667 billion, depending largely on how much the bill leads lawmakers to increase appropriations outside of VA health care. In addition, the move from discretionary to mandatory would likely reduce the incentive to hold down the cost of VA health benefits.
The direct effects of the bill alone would cost more than five times as much as has been appropriated for the crisis in Ukraine and 27 times as much as the COVID vaccine and treatment package currently under consideration….
While Biden touts this bill as “benefits for veterans”, it’s actually typical bureaucratic SWAMP bullshit. It’s a massive spending bill that includes a budgetary gimmick for an additional $400 billion in non-veteran spending. Our inflation and national debt is out of control. This just adds to his domestic disasters.
This is how the D.C. corruptocrats add “discretionary” spending, which means earmarks for pet projects.
If the bill was really dedicated for veterans’ benefits, there wouldn’t be any “discretionary spending” which gives politicians money to spend as they see fit.