WASHINGTON — President Biden on Tuesday needled House Republicans for providing no explicit protections for veterans programs in the bill they narrowly passed last week that would condition raising the debt ceiling on deep spending cuts across much of the federal government.

House Republicans have insisted military and veterans spending would be shielded, but a lack of specificity in the legislation has left them open to attacks by Democrats and caused grave concern among veteran advocacy groups.

On Tuesday, Biden tweeted a flow chart drawn on White House letterhead that he mockingly said was meant to help Republican lawmakers determine whether they were in fact protecting veterans. Among the steps they should take, Biden suggested, is ask: “Did the bill say: ‘This does NOT apply to veterans benefits?'”

“I hear House Republicans out on TV saying they would never vote to cut veterans’ benefits,” Biden said in the tweet. “In case there’s any confusion, I made a little chart that could help them out.”

The tweet was the latest attempt from the White House to gain leverage in the showdown with House Republicans over the debt ceiling by highlighting the severity of cuts the GOP legislation calls for as well as the uncertainty over what exactly would be exempt.

While the GOP legislation does not specifically call for cuts to veterans programs, it does not explicitly exempt them either.

The legislation seeks to cap discretionary spending at fiscal year 2022 levels and allows 1 percent growth per year going forward. Republican leaders have said the cuts would not be applied across the board – ultimately it would be left to the appropriations process in coming years to determine what exactly is cut.

If their legislation were to become law, Republicans would eventually need to identify more than $3.5 billion in cuts over the coming decade. The Biden administration has estimated cuts of more than 20 percent would be required from most agencies.

The uncertainty prompted a coalition of about two dozen veterans groups, including the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, to write a letter to Congress last week voicing alarm.

“If enacted, the proposed legislation would dramatically reduce total federal discretionary spending and could endanger funding for [the Department of Veterans Affairs] and veterans’ programs,” the letter said. “Without specific language to explicitly protect VA from the impact of the proposed budget reductions, it would leave many veteran resources open to cuts, potentially undoing years of progress VA has made for those that have earned it. . . . Our nation’s veterans, caregivers, and survivors have already sacrificed too much. Our country must keep our promises and provide them with the best healthcare and benefits possible.”

House Republican leaders have repeatedly said veterans programs are not at risk and accused Democrats of stoking fear.

“Joe Biden and the Democrats are yet again shamelessly lying to the American people,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the House Republican conference chairwoman, tweeted Monday. “There are absolutely NO cuts to veterans benefits, or the VA in the Limit, Save, and Grow Act.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has said the House GOP bill is dead on arrival in his chamber, and Biden has threatened to veto it in the extremely unlikely case it winds up on his desk.

The government could default on its obligations as soon as June 1 if legislation is not passed, the Treasury Department said Monday. Biden has invited Schumer, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to the White House next week to discuss the situation.

The Senate is planning to hold hearings starting this week on the potential impact of cuts called for by the House GOP bill.

In remarks on the floor Tuesday, Schumer included veterans programs as among the expected targets of spending cuts in the House bill.

The bill, he said, would result in “severe, devastating cuts to things like law enforcement, veterans, families, teachers, kids, even cancer research.”

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