Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2022-06-23 14:57

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2023 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill:

I want to say a thank you to Chair Wasserman Schultz and Ranking Member Carter, for your hard work and I want to thank the subcommittee staff as well.

The Military Construction-Veterans Affairs subcommittee worked hard this year – a total of eight hearings on many topics, military installations, quality of life of the forces, unique health needs of our veterans, and oversight of the military privatized housing initiative.

These are programs vitally important to servicemembers, their families, and to our veterans. Robust investments will keep our nation safe, rebuild our infrastructure, and honor our men and women in uniform.

The bill builds upon the successes of 2022 that made investments that those who protect our nation have earned and deserve. It provides $150 billion in discretionary funding, increase of $23 billion over the enacted level. And to better prioritize and meet the needs of our veterans, this bill separates VA Medical Care into a third category, alongside defense and non-defense discretionary spending, for the first time ever.

Provides $118.8 billion for Veterans Medical Care, $20 billion above 2022. The funding provides care to the 7.3 million veterans who will be treated by the VA in 2023. To support veterans in the targeted and specific ways that they need, we are enhancing mental health care, women’s health, homeless assistance programs, substance use disorder programs, and whole health initiatives.

Same time, continuing to make progress in health care we provide our veterans today and in the future, it invests $926 million for medical and prosthetic research.

The VA provides medical care but so much more – in that case, we are funding the Veterans Benefits Administration to provide disability benefits to 5.5 million veterans and 500,000 survivors and dependents.

And we want to make that sure that our veterans are provided care in a safe, secure, sustainable, and accessible facility. We are investing $2 billion in VA construction programs.

We provide $15.1 billion for military construction to rebuild our military infrastructure, the facilities that house military families. $2.1 billion for Family Housing to address such issues as mold, vermin, and lead by increasing oversight of military privatized housing initiatives because our service members and their families deserve to live in safe and healthy homes. We also support 1.2 million children of active duty servicemembers worldwide, it’s $274 million to increase childcare facilities and capacities.

We are looking to clean up contaminated facilities, heavily investing in PFAS remediation and conduct a cleanup, we confront the climate crisis as well, increased funding for climate change and resiliency projects so the installations can adapt to rising sea levels and worsening natural disasters.

We make critical investments globally to protect our national security. And we are really, as Russia’s aggression and its grievous and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, risks from the Middle East and North Africa grow, we invest more than $220 million, for the NATO Security Investment Program.

Our veterans, our servicemembers, and their families have made immense sacrifices to protect and serve this nation. They deserve these investments that this bill makes, and proud to support them.

Thank the Subcommittee staff once again. Jenny Neuscheler, Brad Allen, Nicole Cohen, Nick Burton, Luke Georgiadis. And on the minority side: Betsy Bina and John Muscolini.

A thank you again to the Chair and the Ranking Member. I urge support for the bill.

117th Congress