Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2022 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

June 24, 2021
Press Release
Legislation protects our national security, upholds our commitments to servicemembers, veterans, and their families, and rebuilds our infrastructure

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2022 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds Military Construction projects and veterans’ benefits, health care, and other programs.

In total, the bill provides $279.9 billion, an increase of $28.1 billion – more than 10 percent – above 2021. Of this amount, discretionary funding for programs such as veterans’ health care and Military Construction totals $124.5 billion, an increase of $11.4 billion above 2021. The legislation:

  • Supports our veterans with investments in health care, including targeted investments that advance women's health, mental health, and homelessness assistance
  • Rebuilds our infrastructure with strong investments to construct critical facilities on military installations including family housing and child care centers, and build, repair, and retrofit Veterans Affairs facilities
  • Protects our national security with investments to respond to the challenges posed by Russian and Chinese aggression
  • Confronts the climate crisis with increased climate change and resiliency funding to help military installations adapt to rising sea levels and worsening natural disasters

“This bill demonstrates a strong commitment to our servicemembers, their families and our Veterans,” Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23) said. “It addresses military infrastructure and readiness needs of current servicemembers and provides the benefits and medical care that Veterans duly earned in their service to our Nation. The bill specifically targets military housing and child care needs, women’s and mental health priorities, and the climate crisis, while responding to threats emanating from Russian and Chinese aggression. It’s a blueprint to make our VA and military stronger and more responsive to all those who proudly protect America, now and in the past.”

“This legislation meets our solemn, Constitutional responsibility to provide for our nation’s veterans,” Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “Our veterans have risked their lives to keep our nation safe, and whether they are still fighting or returning home, it is our duty to make sure these brave men and women and their families have the support and the care they need. As our military and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continue to overcome unprecedented challenges associated with COVID-19, we have a responsibility to make certain that they are supported. This critical legislation helps meet the mental and physical needs of our veterans and protects our national security with robust investments to fund military construction projects. With resources for housing, child care, and medical care, suicide prevention, and homelessness assistance, this bill focuses on the areas vital to our veterans and their families that make daily sacrifices in service of our country.”

A summary of the draft fiscal year 2022 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill is below. The full text of the bill is here. The subcommittee markup will be webcast live and linked from https://appropriations.house.gov/events/markups.

 

Bill Summary:
 

Military Construction – The bill provides a total of $10.9 billion for military construction – $2.9 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $1.07 billion above the President’s budget request. Of this amount, the bill includes:

  • $213 million for Child Development Centers, of which $33 million is for planning and design for future facilities, and in total is $193 million above the FY 2022 budget request. The funds will support increased capacity and better facilities for the 1.2 million children of active duty servicemembers worldwide.
     
  • $1.423 billion for Family Housing, an increase of $87 million above the 2021 enacted level and the same as the budget request. Within this amount, Family Housing Support and Management is funded at $116.2 million to address issues such as mold, vermin, and lead in military family housing.
     
  • $849.2 million for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in states and territories, an increase of $253 million above the 2021 enacted level and $179.2 million above the FY 2022 budget request.
     
  • $205.8 million for the NATO Security Investment Program, an increase of $32.8 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the FY 2022 budget request, for infrastructure necessary for wartime, crisis, and peace support and deterrence operations, and training requirements. The funds will support responses to the challenges posed by Russian aggression as well as the risks and threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa.
     
  • $564.6 million for Base Realignment and Closure, an increase of $84.1 million above the 2021 enacted level and $280 million above the FY 2022 budget request. Within this amount, cleanup of Perfluorooctane Sulfanate and Perfluorooctanoic Acid contamination is funded at $150 million. 
     
  • $149.8 million for Cost to Complete Projects, which includes $31.5 million for family housing construction.
     
  • $162.9 million for Natural Disaster Recovery Construction, to be distributed amongst the Air Force and Navy & Marine Corps.
     
  • $100 million for the Army National Guard transformation plan to accelerate construction of facilities and $50 million for planning and design towards future facilities.
     
  • $550 million for Barracks for Unaccompanied Soldiers at various locations, $237.2 million above the FY 2022 budget request.
     
  • $100 million for Climate Change and Resiliency Projects, which is $86 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, and $100 million above the FY 2022 budget request.
     
  • $475 million for Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) projects, which is $379 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, and $225 million above the FY 2022 budget request.
     

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – The bill provides a total of $113.1 billion in discretionary appropriations for VA, an increase of $8.7 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $176.4 million above the President’s budget request. These resources will serve to expand access to services for Veterans and will boost oversight and accountability across the department. Of this amount, the bill includes:

  • $97.6 billion for Veterans Medical Care, an increase of $7.6 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $100 million above the President’s budget request. This will provide care for 7.1 million patients expected to be treated by VA in FY 2022. Of this amount:
     
  • $13.2 billion for Mental Healthcare, an increase of $2.9 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $1 million above the President’s budget request, including $599 million for suicide prevention outreach. This will support the nearly 2 million Veterans who receive mental health services in a VA specialty mental health setting, as well as support suicide prevention services like the Veterans Crisis Line, which saw an increase in demand by over 59% in the last year.
     
  • $778.5 million for Gender-specific Care for Women, an increase of $117.8 million above the 2021 enacted level and $73 million above the President’s budget request. Women are the fastest growing cohort within the Veteran community, with nearly 561,000 women Veterans using VA health services.
     
  • $2.2 billion for Homeless Assistance Programs, an increase of $246 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request. This funding will enhance VA’s ability to reach homeless Veterans, which is particularly crucial as the most recent homelessness survey showed that on a given night in January 2020, an estimated 37,252 Veterans were experiencing homelessness.
     
  • $621 million for Opioid Abuse Prevention, an increase of $149 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request. This funding will allow for more targeted funding of pain management and opioid safety programs primarily at the facility level.
     
  • $307 million for Rural Health Initiatives, an increase of $7 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request. This will build upon VA’s success in having served 2.9 million Veterans at 600 rural serving sites.
     
  • $84 million for Whole Health Initiatives, an increase of $10 million above the 2021 enacted level and $10 million above the President’s budget request. This will enable VA to build upon the success of this program that focuses on Veterans’ overall health and well-being, which has already reached 346,629 Veterans, or 7.41% of active VA users.
     
  • Additionally, the bill includes $111.3 billion in advance fiscal year 2023 funding for Veterans’ medical care – equal to the President’s budget request. This funding will provide for medical services, medical community care, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities, and ensure that our Veterans have continued, full access to their medical care needs.
     
  • $902 million for Medical and Prosthetic Research, an increase of $87 million above the 2021 enacted level and $20 million above the President’s budget request. This funding will allow VA to exceed the budget request’s target of funding approximately 2,563 total projects, supporting more than 1,700 researchers, and partnering with more than 200 medical schools and other academic institutions.
     
  • $2.6 billion to continue implementation of the VA Electronic Health Record System, an increase of $10 million above the 2021 enacted level and $26 million below the President’s budget request. These funds will allow VA to support continued, robust deployment of the new electronic health record system at VA medical centers and allow for intensive staff training, critical to the success of the effort. The bill also continues GAO oversight of this program to ensure that the EHR system is implemented in a timely manner.
     
  • $2.2 billion for VA Construction, an increase of $458 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request. Within this amount, $1.6 billion is for Major Construction and $553 million is for Minor Construction. This increase will support VA’s highest priority projects and correct critical seismic and safety deficiencies and address other performance gaps at VA facilities to ensure that Veterans can access care in modern facilities that are safe, secure, sustainable, and accessible.
     
  • $3.4 billion for operating expenses of the Veterans Benefits Administration, an increase of $239 million above the 2021 enacted level, to ensure the prompt processing of disability claims. This increase will allow VA to complete an estimated 1.7 million disability compensation claims in 2022 and support service-connected compensation payments to an estimated 5.5 million Veterans, 500,000 survivors and dependents. In addition, pension payments will be funded for more than 350,000 Veterans and their survivors. The bill also continues rigorous reporting requirements to track each regional office’s performance on claims processing and appeals backlogs.
    • Additionally, the bill includes $156.6 billion in advance mandatory funding for VA benefit programs, equal to the President's budget request.
       

Related Agencies – The bill provides a total of $434.8 million in discretionary appropriations for related agencies, an increase of $156.5 million above the 2021 enacted level and $5 million above the President’s budget request. Of this amount, the bill includes:

  • $228 million for Arlington National Cemetery, including $141 million to complete the urgently needed Southern Expansion project that will create 80,000 additional burial spaces. This is an increase of $146.2 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request.
     
  • $88.1 million for the American Battle Monuments Commission, $4 million above the fiscal year 2021 enacted level and $3.3 million more than the President’s budget request. This will support continued maintenance of the graves of 124,000 American war dead in overseas cemeteries, as well as visitor and education services for the more than 3 million visitors expected to visit these sites in FY 2022.
     
  • $77 million for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, $1.7 million above the 2021 enacted level and $1.7 million above the President’s budget request. This will support the needs of the over 800 residents at the two retirement home campuses and invest in critical life and safety infrastructure improvements.
117th Congress