Biden Falsely Claims Republicans Want to Cut Veterans' Benefits in Debt Limit Fight

President Joe Biden falsely claimed in two recent tweets that House Republicans want to cut veterans’ benefits, as he prepares to negotiate with them over the debt ceiling.

“We have a sacred obligation to care for the men and women who fought to protect our freedom. This is how MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to repay them,” Biden tweeted on Sunday, along with a graphic that said “217 House Republicans voted to undermine veterans’ health care.”

He followed up that tweet with another one on Monday that again falsely implied House Republicans wanted to cut veterans’ benefits.

Biden’s tweets referenced the House Republicans’ “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023,” which would raise the debt ceiling on U.S. government debt in order to stave off a default on U.S. borrowing. Republicans passed the bill in the House earlier this week 217-215.

Contrary to what Biden claimed, the legislation does not mention cutting veterans’ health care or benefits. Rather, it would limit federal discretionary spending to $1.47 trillion in 2024, and allow for it to increase only 1% annually, below the rate of inflation.

“It is, quite simply, a lie. There’s no other word to use. They are lying,” said Dan Caldwell, vice president of the Center for Renewing America and a Marine veteran.

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“If you go and look at the bill, [veterans’ health care] is not referenced at all. Veterans are not referenced at all. What the bill does is put in an overall spending cap. So in theory, you could actually increase the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget under a spending cap. There’s nothing restricting or stopping that, but they’re acting like this cap mandates cuts for each cabinet level agency, which is just simply a lie,” Caldwell added.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the proposal would reduce the deficit by $4.8 trillion over 10 years if enacted. Congress would ultimately decide where to limit federal discretionary spending.

The bill would also take back all unobligated COVID relief money, rescind nearly $71 billion to the IRS to hire new workers and upgrade technology, block Biden from waiving $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debts and reduce monthly payments for undergraduate loans, repeal most of the tax breaks Democrats passed to promote their clean energy agenda, and impose work requirements for federal cash and food assistance.

Senate Democrats are refusing to consider the proposal but have not put forth their own. President Joe Biden initially said he would not negotiate with Republicans on the proposal, but on Monday gave in and reached out to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Democrats had not expected McCarthy to garner enough support in the Republican caucus to pass the proposal in the House, but to their surprise it passed last week by two votes.

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as he departs following the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on Capitol Hill on Friday, March 17, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Caldwell said he believes the Democrats’ claim that Republicans want to cut veterans’ health care is part of “a larger realization that their whole strategy on the debt limit has fallen apart.”

“They’re flailing and they’ve landed on this attack, which is just based on outright lie,” he said.

The Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted Monday to Biden’s clam, “Liar.”

Last week, Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee chairman, tweeted, “Democrats are flat out lying about the House Republican debt limit plan to save our fiscal future. We are not slashing veterans’ benefits. We are ensuring we have the resources to provide the care they need for generations to come.”

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