April 22, 2015
On a bipartisan basis, the House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The legislation will now head to the House floor for consideration.
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 bill 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 is a balanced, thorough bill that will help improve the quality of life for our brave service men and women on active duty, address the current and future needs of our veterans, and tackle the challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs," Chairman Rogers said. “This legislation also contains various strong oversight measures to help right the ship at the VA – ensuring that this Department is able to provide our nation’s veterans with the high quality of care that they so richly deserve for their service.”
“This bill reflects our longstanding tradition of bipartisan support of our military, our veterans, and their families. Our investment of nearly $77 billion for Military Construction and VA, 6 percent over last year’s level, is unprecedented,” Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Dent said. “This is a very solid, bipartisan bill that we can all be proud of,” Dent continued.
The following amendments to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:
Rep. Dent – The manager’s amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Price – The amendment adds $15 million in funds for VA medical research, offset by a reduction in VA information technology funds. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Diaz-Balart – The amendment adds language to the bill prohibiting funds to close or realign Lajes Air Force Base, and prohibits funds to construct an intelligence facility at a separate location, unless DoD certifies that Lajes does not meet operations requirements for certain intelligence activities. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
The bill was approved by the full committee on a voice vote.
For the draft text of the bill, please visit:
For the draft bill report, please visit:
For a bill summary, please visit: /news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394141