President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE is scheduled to sign a bill on Wednesday that would expand veterans' access to private health-care services while his aides reportedly work behind the scenes to thwart a Senate plan to fund it.
Trump's aides have circulated memos to senators calling a plan from several committee chairmen to fund the VA Mission Act with a separate $50 billion measure “anathema to responsible spending” and predicting it would lead to “virtually unlimited increases” in health-care spending, The Washington Post reports.
“Without subjecting the program to any budgetary constraint, there is no incentive to continue to serve veterans with innovative, streamlined and efficient quality of care,” the memo reads, according to the Post.
White House aides reportedly want senators instead to find the funding for the plan by cutting spending in other areas of government. Senators told the Post that the only alternative is cutting $10 billion per year from other services, including some Department of Veterans Affairs initiatives.
“If we don’t get on it we’re going to have a hole of $10 billion in our [appropriations],” Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyBlack Hawk pilot shot down in Somalia jumps into Alabama Senate race Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Senate Democrats unveil remaining spending bills, teeing up clash with Republicans MORE (R-Ala.) told the newspaper, predicting “some real trouble" if the White House continued to oppose the spending measure.
The Trump administration fired back in a statement to the Post, however, countering that the Senate must be "good stewards of the taxpayer dollar."
“We have a responsibility to provide our Veterans with the care they deserve, while also being good stewards of the taxpayer dollar,” the administration said.
The funding fight could take place as soon as this week, the Post noted.
The measure to fund the VA Mission Act has been tacked on to the VA appropriations bill, which Congress is preparing to take up in the coming days as it reels from conservative rebellions over the 2018 farm bill and $1.3 trillion spending bill the president signed in March.