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Veterans' Affairs subcommittee holds hearing on veteran homelessness in Oceanside

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin (center), whose district includes northern San Diego and southern Orange County, speaks during a field hearing of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity in Oceanside, California, May 4, 2023. `
Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, whose district includes northern San Diego and southern Orange County, speaks during a field hearing of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity in Oceanside, California, May 4, 2023. `

A Veterans' Affairs subcommittee held a hearing Thursday in Oceanside on homelessness among veterans.

The subcommittee heard testimony from local veterans service and housing organizations and San Diego Veterans Affairs representatives.

Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, whose district includes northern San Diego and southern Orange County, said he's pushing for a change to the way Veterans Affairs disability benefits are calculated as income for some housing programs, an effect known as the "benefits cliff."

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"That's something that I think has really impacted a lot of veterans here in a high-cost area like San Diego County," Levin said before the hearing.

Three other members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs also attended the hearing — Republican Derrick Van Orden, of Wisconsin, who chairs the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, and California Democratic Rep. Mark Takano and Republican Rep. Young Kim.

Van Orden agreed with Levin that Congress should look at changing how VA disability benefits count toward other income-based VA programs.

"I wanted to come here so that everybody's knows across this committee and across Congress that we are dead-set on working together on these veterans' issues," Van Orden said.

The hearing was held amidst an ongoing stalemate in Washington, D.C. over the Republican debt ceiling plan, which Democrats have said would cut the VA budget by 22%.

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The VA said last month 81,000 jobs would be lost across the Veterans Health Administration if such a cut were to occur.

Levin didn't address the debt ceiling fight directly, but said he thinks the House will continue to fight for veterans.

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Corrected: May 6, 2023 at 2:18 PM PDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the party affiliation of Representative Young Kim. We apologize for the mistake.
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