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Appropriations Committee to Consider Fiscal Year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Legislation

Bill includes funding to support the nation’s troops, military families, defense infrastructure and veterans


Washington, May 14 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released the initial fiscal year 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.

The legislation provides the nation’s military with the infrastructure needed to house, train, and equip military personnel, supports the quality of life of our troops and their families, and maintains our military base structure. The bill also funds veterans’ benefits and programs to ensure that all veterans receive the services they have earned as a result of their sacrifices and service to the country.

The bill totals $73.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.4 billion above the enacted level for fiscal year 2013, and approximately $2.4 billion* above the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts, which do not affect Veterans spending. This level is nearly $1.4 billion below the President’s request for these programs.

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the legislation:

“This will be a tough budget year, and almost every area of government will be affected by the austere funding levels caused by sequestration. However, this legislation prioritizes spending to protect critical programs, including infrastructure for our troops, programs for our military families, and the quality care our nation’s veterans deserve,” Rogers said.

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson also commented on his bill:

“Our subcommittee is committed to ensuring that our men and women in uniform are the best-equipped and best-cared-for in the world. Once again, this year, we have been able to protect the high-quality services provided to our troops, their families, and our veterans,” Chairman Culberson said.

Bill Highlights:

The bill totals $73.3 billion – $1.4 billion above the enacted fiscal year 2013 level and $1.4 billion below the President’s budget request. The increase is primarily due to advance funding approved last year for veterans medical care, and an increase in veterans spending for essential benefits and programs such as those to reduce the backlog in claims processing. Some of this funding is offset by reductions in the Military Construction portion of the bill.

The bill also seeks to save taxpayer dollars wherever possible, without impacting critical programs for our military or veterans. For example, the legislation includes rescissions of unused, unobligated funding from previous years, it does not provide funding for 10 proposed military construction projects that are not needed or justified at this time, and it reduces excess or unnecessary funding for six other projects.

Military Construction – The bill provides $9.9 billion for military construction projects – a decrease of $646 million below the enacted fiscal year 2013 level. These programs include large and small construction and rehabilitation projects on military bases within the U.S. and overseas.

Veterans Affairs (VA) – The legislation includes a total of $147.6 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This funding will help provide our nation’s veterans with the services and care they have earned from their dedicated service to the country.

Discretionary funding for Veterans programs in the bill is $63.1 billion – $2.1 billion above the enacted fiscal year 2013 level. Approximately $54.5 billion of this discretionary total was provided last year via advance funding in the fiscal year 2013 Appropriations bill.

Advance Appropriations for Veterans Medical Programs – The bill contains $55.6 billion in advance fiscal year 2015 funding for the VA – the same level provided in the House-passed Budget Resolution. This funding will provide for medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities, and ensure that our veterans have continued, full access to their medical care needs.

Arlington National Cemetery – The legislation includes $70.7 million for the Arlington National Cemetery, a decrease of $93.9 million from the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.

For the complete text of the FY 2014 Subcommittee Draft Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY14-MilConVA.pdf

*Due to lack of current fiscal year 2013 information provided to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), post-sequestration funding levels are estimates only.

 

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