Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2021 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Bill
WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2021 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill:
I thank Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz and Ranking Member Carter for their work on this bill. I also want to express my appreciation to both the Members who submitted requests and the subcommittee staff for their tireless efforts during these challenging months.
The bill that we have before us reflects the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe to our armed forces, veterans, and the families who share in service to our country.
This year’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill makes critical investments in veterans and military families, reinforces our national security infrastructure, and blocks President Trump from stealing appropriated funds from servicemembers to pay for an ineffective, nativist wall or to backfill projects he already canceled for that purpose.
In the midst of a global pandemic, this bill makes unprecedented investments in our veterans through our VA medical system to ensure that every veteran has access to the top-notch health care they deserve. The bill includes historic spending for women veterans, mental health, suicide prevention, medical research, and homeless prevention while closely monitoring VA claims processing and system modernizations.
In particular, the bill would provide $2.6 billion to support the much needed, and long delayed, Electronic Health Records capability. I commend the additional oversight and accountability measures that are put in place by this bill. It is our duty to both veterans and taxpayers to complete this project as soon as possible.
It also provides robust funding to improve servicemembers’ and their families’ quality of life by supporting improvements to the vital military facilities that house, treat, train, and equip our forces.
The Milcon portion of the bill also funds critical infrastructure projects in Europe and across the globe to continue the fight against Russian aggression and emerging threats in the Middle East and North Africa.
Again, I thank the Members and staff for their unwavering commitment to our veterans, service men and woman, and their families. In short, this bill builds a stronger VA and military, and leaves no one behind. I urge support.