STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Is President Joe Biden defunding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? No, that's not true: This is a false claim made by a satire website. There is no publicly available evidence that President Biden plans to defund the VA.
The claim originated from an article (archived here) where it was published by americaslastlineofdefense.com on January 4, 2021 under the headline "Biden to Defund the Department of Veterans Affairs." It opened:
In a stunning move that only adds insult to injuries for many of our most brave Americans, President-Elect Joe Biden has announced that he will immediately defund the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Millions of veterans and their families depend on the healthcare and benefits the VA provides.
Another red flag guiding savvy readers to check the "Last Line of Defense" website is that it would be a significant reverse in Biden's voting record. During his time in Congress, he voted with the major veterans' groups 50% or more, according to VoteSmart, which archives voting records of American politicans.
Americaslastlineofdefense.com site is part of the "America's Last Line of Defense" network of satire websites run by self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair from Maine along with a loose confederation of friends and allies. He runs several websites and Facebook pages with visible satire disclaimers posted in multiple locations. They mostly publish made-up stories with headlines specifically created to trigger Republicans, conservatives and evangelical Christians into angrily sharing or commenting on the story on Facebook without actually reading the full article, exposing them to mockery and ridicule by fans of the sites and pages.
Every site in the network has an about page that reads (in part):
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with "comedy":
The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites who omit the satire disclaimer and other hints the stories are fake. One of the most persistent networks of such sites is run by a man from Pakistan named Kashif Shahzad Khokhar (aka "DashiKashi") who has spammed hundreds of such stolen stories into conservative and right-wing Facebook pages in order to profit from the ad revenue.
When fact checkers point this out to the people liking and sharing these copycat stories some of them get mad at the fact checkers instead of directing their anger at the foreign spammers or the liberal satire writers. Others send a polite "thank you" note, which is much appreciated.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes americaslastlineofdefense.com as:
A network of sites that publish false stories and hoaxes that are often mistaken for real news, run by hoax perpetrator Christopher Blair.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
2021-02-08T18:57:29Z 2021-02-08T18:57:29ZUpdated to include Biden voting record data that would cause a reader to question the claim.