Carter Remarks at FY24 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Bill Markup
I am proud to present the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to you today.
The bill fully funds veterans’ health care and matches the President’s Budget Request for veterans’ benefits, other veterans’ programs, and the VA’s activities and functions.
We kept our promise! And we did it responsibly!
We did not accept the proposed shift of more than $14 billion to the mandatory side of the budget. Instead, we utilized the Cost of War Toxic Exposure Fund as intended: to cover the incremental costs above the FY21 baseline to implement the PACT Act.
The bill provides almost $1 billion above the Budget Request for a total of $17.7 billion for military construction and family housing. I’m pleased we were able to provide $362 million for 9 barracks, $294 million for 7 child development centers, and continue Subcommittee initiatives for laboratories, planning and design, and family housing.
I specifically want to call out the funding in the bill for deterrence in the Pacific, which I believe we all support. The bill provides $1.4 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, $1.1 billion for projects in Guam, and $131 million for INDOPACOM. We also direct VA to improve services for veterans in the Pacific. We need to do better to honor their service to the nation.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for participating in this process. Your input made this a better bill. To my Ranking Member, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, you are a great partner. I appreciate you. Finally, I would like to thank Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member DeLauro for their support and assistance to the Subcommittee.