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Hearing Finds VA May Face Administrative Cuts Under Sequestration

July 27, 2012—The House Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees held a July 25 hearing titled “Back From the Battlefield: DoD and VA Collaboration to Assist Servicemembers Returning to Civilian Life,” with testimony from Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. The secretaries fielded questions on transitioning servicemembers from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the VA health system, military suicide rates, unemployment, and the disability claims backlog, but also touched on sequestration.

When committee members questioned regarding the effects sequestration would have on the VA budget, Secretary Shinseki indicated that while VA benefits and services are exempt from sequestration, VA administrative costs could possibly face a cut. Secretary Shinseki noted that administrative costs are not yet defined, but would face at most a 2 percent reduction under the law.

Additionally, a particular point of contention throughout the two-and-a-half hour hearing was the delay in creating a joint electronic records sharing system. The two departments, which have been working on the system for the past decade, recently announced it would not be ready until 2017. Both secretaries agreed there was no excuse for the delay.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806