Enacting S. 425 would reduce benefits provided under certain education programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while expanding eligibility under those programs for some beneficiaries. The bill also would increase the amount of the pension paid to Medal of Honor recipients. On net, those changes would decrease direct spending by $4.1 billion over the 2017-2026 period.
In addition, S. 425 would make a number of changes to VA’s health care programs, including expanding the caregivers program, improving benefits for homeless veterans, and increasing pay for medical staff. In total, CBO estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $3.5 billion over the 2017-2021 period, subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts.
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues. CBO estimates that enacting S. 425 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
S. 425 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would benefit public entities, including educational institutions and health care providers, that provide services to veterans. Any costs those entities might incur would be incurred as conditions of participating in a voluntary federal program.