Negotiations About Overhaul Of VA Health System Stand In Way Of Debt-Limit Deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting $22 billion over two years to cover the cost of a revamp of the VA health-care program signed into law last year. She said that the funding for the program should be in addition to the equal increases she is seeking for nonmilitary and military funding. Lawmakers are trying to get an overall deal done before the House leaves for August recess.
The Wall Street Journal:
Debt-Limit Talks Hit More Snags: VA Health Care, GOP Demands On Spending
Negotiations to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing limit and set overall federal spending levels face at least two more hurdles: how to pay for an overhaul of veterans’ health care; and Republican demands to offset spending increases. Congress and the Trump administration have days to reach an agreement on the must-pass measures. The House leaves Washington for an August recess at the end of next week, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned last week that the U.S. could breach its debt limit in early September, before lawmakers return to the Capitol. (Duehren, 7/16)
Mnuchin Says Debt Ceiling Deal 'Close'
On Saturday night, Pelosi suggested in a letter to Mnuchin that the caps deal should include a budget adjustment for the VA MISSION act. Democrats have fretted over a GOP decision to count the $9 billion in costs associated with the act under the budget cap, which would require offsetting the spending. In her letter, Pelosi reiterated the request that the costs of the program not count toward the cap while maintaining parity in defense and nondefense increases. (Samuels, 7/15)