With the end of the war in Iraq and the involvement in Afghanistan winding down, the United States can expect to see about 100,000 veterans return home. Many will need help and support from safety net programs or job training to transition to civilian life, but that help isn’t guaranteed to be there.
That’s because this past fall the congressional "super committee" charged with developing a plan to reduce the deficit did not come to an agreement. As a result, if Congress fails to act, automatic cuts will be triggered in January 2013 to both nonwar defense spending and domestic discretionary spending, including many human needs programs that provide greater opportunity to veterans and nonveterans alike.
Already policymakers are pushing to exempt the cuts to defense spending and to take revenues off the table—steps that would place more of the burden on programs that serve vets, cut poverty, and rebuild the middle class.
Clearly our veterans have a lot at stake this year in the debates over the deficit and budget cuts. CAP offers a by-the-numbers look at some of the challenges veterans face, the support they get, and what’s at risk in these important policy debates.
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