“Plundering Veterans’ Benefits” Trump’s Project 2025 Blueprint Criticized

 “Plundering Veterans’ Benefits” Trump’s Project 2025 Blueprint Criticized

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The Project 2025 blueprint for a potential second Donald Trump administration proposes significant changes to veterans’ benefits and government spending, drawing sharp criticism. Right-wing policymakers, led by the Heritage Foundation, are crafting a detailed plan to slash federal spending, cut taxes, gut regulatory agencies, stock the federal government with loyalists, and privatize many government functions, including the Veterans Health Administration.

A chapter in the 920-page “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” released by the conservative think tank, details cost-cutting measures and other proposed changes to the Veterans Administration. These include replacing its leaders and decision-makers with political appointees.

Brooks D. Tucker, who served as chief of staff for Trump’s second VA secretary Robert Wilkie, authored the chapter on VA reforms with assistance from Darin Selnick. Selnick, who called for dismantling the agency when serving on a presidential commission in 2016, worked for the Koch brothers-funded Concerned Veterans for America (CVA).

The plan proposes eliminating concurrent eligibility for both service-related disability benefits and military retirement benefits. Tucker claims this would reduce mandatory outlays by at least $160 billion through 2032. The plan also suggests revising the disability rating awards that determine eligibility for benefits and monthly disability compensation to achieve “significant cost savings.”

Additionally, the blueprint proposes ending enrollment in VA medical care for veterans in two low-priority groups to save an estimated $69 billion through 2032. It also aims to narrow eligibility for veterans’ disability by excluding disabilities not related to military service, potentially saving $37.6 billion during the same period.

Tucker recommends expanding Community Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) rather than maintaining or upgrading “obsolete” or “unaffordable” VA healthcare campuses that currently provide inpatient services, emergency care, and other health services in one location.

Project 2025 also calls for privatizing the Department of Defense’s current TRICARE system offered to military families. Tucker claims this would provide higher quality care and result in $60 billion in savings. The plan also requires married service members to share a housing allowance and document their housing expenditures. “Servicemembers are not entitled to — and should not be able to — retain ‘extra compensation’ from money above what they pay for housing,” Tucker wrote.

Critics argue that these measures would significantly undermine veterans’ benefits and access to essential services. The proposed changes have sparked debate over the priorities and impacts of the Project 2025 blueprint, particularly regarding the welfare of veterans and the effectiveness of privatizing key government functions.

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