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Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Legislation

Bill will fund programs for our troops, military families, defense infrastructure and veterans


Washington, Apr 14 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation contains funding to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide housing and services to military families, and help maintain base infrastructure. The bill also funds veterans’ benefits and programs.

In total, the legislation provides $76.6 billion in discretionary funding – $4.6 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level. This represents a 5.6 percent increase over the fiscal year 2015 level for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – including increases for health care, benefit claims processing, the Board of Veterans Appeals, medical and prosthetic research, and information technology. Of this funding $58.7 billion was provided in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill. Military construction is increased by $904 million over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, which allows for full funding of family housing, construction of hospitals and health facilities, and support for critical overseas investments.  

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

“This bill ensures that our nation's veterans, servicemen and women, and their families have the benefits and resources they richly deserve. It provides funding for essential construction projects to advance the effectiveness of our missions, allows military families access to the services they need every day, and goes above and beyond to ensure proper and timely benefits for our veterans. This legislation does the right thing in the right way, and I hope and expect it can move quickly through the legislative process," Chairman Rogers said.

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Dent also commented on his bill:

“This legislation demonstrates our firm commitment to fully supporting the nation’s veterans and service members at every phase. While they are serving, we have them and their families covered, whether it's in the States, or at facilities in the Pacific, Africa or Europe. And we are supporting them when they become veterans – funding high-quality health care and increases to claims processing,” Chairman Dent added. “We owe this to our service members and vets and are committed to sustained oversight so that programs deliver what they promise, and taxpayers are well served by the investments we make."

Bill Highlights:

The bill totals $76.6 billion – $4.6 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level and $1.2 billion below the President’s budget request. The increase will provide necessary funding for VA health care to meet growing needs.

Military Construction – The bill provides a total of $7.7 billion for military construction projects – an increase of $904 million above the enacted fiscal year 2015 level and $755 million below the President’s request. This includes funds for large and small construction and renovation projects on military bases within the U.S. and around the globe. Of the amount provided for Military Construction projects, $532 million is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). 

Veterans Affairs (VA) – The legislation includes a total of $163.2 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $4.1 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level. 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 alone for Veterans programs in the bill totals $68.7 billion. Approximately $58.7 billion of this discretionary total was provided last year via advance funding in the fiscal year 2015 Appropriations bill. Further, in response to the administration request, the bill provides an additional $970 million in fiscal year 2016 funding to address unanticipated patient access challenges, additional health care services including those for hepatitis C, support services for caregivers of veterans, and ending homelessness.

Arlington National Cemetery – The legislation includes $71 million for the Arlington National Cemetery, an increase of $5 million from the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. In addition, the bill provides $30 million within military construction for Defense Access Roads to improve traffic flow and access to Fort Myer, and to increase the amount of land available for burials and interments.  

For the complete text of the Subcommittee Draft of the FY 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-MilCon-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

 

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