Letter to the Honorable Mike Enzi about the budgetary effects of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the budgetary effects of H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, as passed by the House of Representatives on June 25, 2018. As you requested, this estimate incorporates additional information that CBO received after the legislation was engrossed in the House. In particular, this estimate reflects the considerable uncertainty about the number of veterans who would benefit from provisions of the bill affecting eligibility for veterans’ disability compensation. Even so, considerable uncertainty remains concerning that key input.
The act would increase disability compensation for more of the veterans who served in the seas near Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It also would modify the loan guarantee program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). On net, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase direct spending for those programs by almost $1.2 billion over the 2019‑2028 period.
In addition, H.R. 299 would expand access to VA medical care for certain veterans and their dependents. In total, CBO estimates that implementing those provisions would cost $294 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
The estimated budgetary effects of H.R. 299 as passed by the House of Representatives are shown in Table 1.