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Threatening to veto the VA budget over abortion and gender-affirming care, Biden

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Due to the measure’s limitations on abortion and gender-affirming medical services, President Joe Biden on Monday threatened to veto the House’s $360 billion funding package for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the upcoming year. Legislators, according to Biden, are “wasting time with partisan bills.”

Regarding social concerns, White House officials have objected to the House’s original draft of the VA budget for the second year running. Later this week, the bill is anticipated to pass the House mostly along party lines. “Hurting access to reproductive healthcare, threatening the health and safety of LGBTQI+ Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives, and preventing the administration from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” was how the White House described the appropriations bill in a statement.

A 10% increase in total money for VA operations and programs is part of the House Republicans’ appropriations bill, but it also includes language that forbids department medical staff from performing abortions or offering care that is gender affirming. Republicans charge that VA administrators are politicizing agency operations and taking money away from other veteran care needs, while proponents contend that these services are essential for providing veterans with complete health care.

The bill also prohibits the department from reporting the names of veterans who are judged incapable of managing their financial affairs to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which could result in their being denied the ability to possess firearms. These provisions also block the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for medical professionals.

Similar social issue measures were eliminated from the final VA budget bill last year following the White House’s threat of a veto. Though the Senate has not yet gone forward with its funding measures, Senate Democrats are similarly unlikely to embrace these items this year.

It is anticipated that the appropriations process would last until the conclusion of the fiscal year on September 30 and potentially even into the summer.

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