Sunday, May 04, 2003
More on budget "slashing:" Last month, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, among others, decried the "slashing" of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget. Krugman and others care about this issue because they see it as a way to attack President Bush, who is largely popular among America's military.
I pointed out at the time, that the claims were untrue.
Well, in a Q&A that appeared in today's San Diego Union-Tribune, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony J. Principi, backs me up.
We're reading various things about cuts to veterans benefits in the budget. What proposals are out there coming from the House and the Senate and also what is the administration looking for as far as cuts go?
There have been no cuts. It's really quite unfortunate that some have chosen to talk about cuts. Only in Washington, D.C., perhaps, when you get a 7.7 proposed increase is it somehow equivalent to a cut. I inherited a budget of $48 billion. That was in 2001. The budget that President Bush submitted to the Congress for 2004 that takes effect October 1 is for $63.6 billion, a 33 percent increase in the three years that we've been in office that the president has provided increases to the VA. The current fiscal year, 2003, we received an increase of $2.6 billion in health care alone, the largest increase ever given to the VA in its history. So there really have been no cuts.
Don't expect a correction in the Times. After all, one man's budget increase, is another man's "slash."