Rep Cmte Appropriations

Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Legislation

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

Washington, Mar 22 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2017 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 $81.6 billion in discretionary funding – $1.8 billion above the fiscal year 2016 level. 

Within this total, funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is increased by 3 percent over the fiscal year 2016 level – including additional funding to address management problems and health care shortages, and to increase the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of its services to veterans. Of this funding, $63.3 billion was provided via an advance in the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill.

Military construction is increased by $250 million over the request, fully funding family housing, construction of hospitals and health facilities, and critical overseas investments.  

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

“Once again, the Committee is getting off to a fast and productive start. This Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill is a critically important piece of legislation that will provide the resources our veterans and servicemen and women need and deserve,” Chairman Rogers said. “This bill makes investments to address many problems at the VA – including closing service loopholes, cutting red tape and increasing efficiency, and providing good oversight over spending so that these dollars are used for our veterans, not wasted on mismanagement. 

“It also provides funds so the men and women fighting for our country and their families have the facilities and services that they need every day. Our nation must have its best foot forward to be successful in our missions abroad and to care for those who make personal sacrifices here at home,” Chairman Rogers continued.

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

“This legislation upholds our nation’s promise to care for our troops, veterans, and military families who have endured personal sacrifices to keep us safe at home and strong abroad. It provides a robust increase in funding for medical care and benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to keep pace with demand. Its provisions will improve the quality of life for our service members and their families while they’re serving and meet their needs as they return to their home communities,” remarked Chairman Dent. “It will also address concerns raised by veterans across the country by facilitating improvements in the VA’s claims and appeals processes and maintain the VA’s leadership in cutting edge medical research programs. Our veterans deserve the best care we can provide, and this legislation will deliver that while simultaneously enhancing oversight for patients and taxpayers alike.”

Bill Highlights:

The bill totals $81.6 billion – $1.8 billion above the fiscal year 2016 level and $1.2 billion below the President’s budget request.

Military Construction – The bill provides a total of $7.9 billion for military construction projects – a decrease of $305 million below the enacted fiscal year 2016 level and $250 million above the President’s request. The decrease is primarily due to Department of Defense (DOD) decisions to prioritize readiness activities, and the Administration’s scheduled reductions to our military force.

This includes funds for large and small construction and renovation projects on military bases within the U.S. and around the globe. Of the total amount provided for military construction, $172 million is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and European Reassurance Initiative projects. 

Veterans Affairs (VA) – The legislation includes a total of $176.1 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $13.4 billion above the fiscal year 2016 level. This funding will help address many of the problems currently facing the VA, and provide for better and increased access to care for our veterans.

Discretionary funding alone for VA programs in the bill totals $73.5 billion, an increase of $2.1 billion, or 3 percent, above the fiscal year 2016 level. Approximately $63.3 billion of this discretionary total was provided last year via advance funding in the fiscal year 2016 Appropriations bill. Further, in response to the Administration request, the bill provides an additional $850 million in fiscal year 2017 funding to address additional health care needs such as treatment of hepatitis C, long-term care for veterans, support services for caregivers of veterans, and to fight homelessness among veterans and their families.