This week, Rep. Michelle Bachmann proposed $400 billion in “real and necessary” budget cuts in federal spending to avoid raising the budget ceiling from $14.3 trillion. The cuts include capping increases in Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care spending and reducing Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments for veterans, all to save a total of $4.5 billion.
However, health care costs are rising anyway, meaning less care, and SSDI payments are only $12,800 a year, according to the Air Force Times:
Her list of cuts doesn’t explain the impact of freezing veterans’ health care funding, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a report issued in October that health care costs have been quickly increasing. VA’s health care budget was $44 billion in 2009, $48 billion in 2010 and is at $52 billion this year. The report forecasts a health care budget of $69 billion or higher by 2020 if trends continue, the report estimates.
Another measure in her cuts is to repeal “Obamacare,” which she claims has “unknown” savings. Actually, the CBO measured that its repeal would not save, but add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
You can see the full list of cuts on her website here (PDF).
Update: Rep. Tim Walz, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress, has responded to Bachmann’s proposal with the following statement:
“We have to have an aggressive, long-term plan to tackle our nation’s debt, but attempting to balance the budget on the backs of veterans who have risked life and limb in service of our country is unacceptable. I believe we can and should work together to find reasonable and common-sense cuts that will reduce our debt, but as a generation of warriors returns from two wars, our most solemn responsibility is to make sure they have the care and benefits they have earned.”