Statement : Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

May 1, 2019 Statement

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Chair of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2020 bill:

March 27, 2019 Statement
The Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Veterans Affairs budget requests a record high amount of $220.2 billion – of which $97 billion is discretionary funding, which is a 7.5 percent increase over last year.
March 26, 2019 Statement
The budget request supports our men and women in the military, supports readiness and works toward addressing much needed military construction needs of older facilities. The FY2020 budget request for military construction and family housing is $11.4 billion, an increase of $910 million dollars above the FY2019 enacted level.
March 13, 2019 Statement
The Office of Inspector General serves the important purpose to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within the Department and works to ensure the nation’s taxpayer dollars are well spent. Under your watch, Mr. Missal, OIG sees a $21 return on investment for every dollar spent in your office. While you are proving to be a good steward of the taxpayer dollar, VA still has many challenges that I trust are under close scrutiny by your office.
March 12, 2019 Statement
The Related Agencies title is the smallest section of the bill but has a great impact on our country’s history and our Veterans. Frankly, I am disappointed and concerned to see that once again each of your Agencies is flat funded in the President’s Budget. I am concerned that we aren’t keeping up with the maintenance needs of the American Battle Monuments around the world, which honor our fallen servicemembers.
March 7, 2019 Statement
"Effectively supporting the mental health of our veterans is one of my highest priorities on this subcommittee. Effective and robust mental health programs must be available to all veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or we will continue to fail our veterans and our country."
March 6, 2019 Statement
"Long story short, this issue could have, and should have, been resolved years ago. When I think about the time and resources that have been wasted over the years on this endeavor, it is easy to see why Members have such strong feelings and such frustration concerning this issue."
February 28, 2019 Statement
"The VA must maintain a focus on women veterans’ needs regardless of what challenges it faces now or in the future."
February 28, 2019 Statement
"Funding for gender-specific healthcare for women has remained stagnant at around $500 million over the past few years, yet women are the fastest-growing veteran group – they make up about 9 percent of the current veteran population, and are estimated to make up 15 percent by 2035."
February 27, 2019 Statement
"The Administration is attempting to misuse the flexibility provided by Congress to fund construction projects that directly support the use of our armed forces in an emergency or a declared war. The President’s plan is not to make us safer; it is in fact, an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to build an unnecessary wall that he said Mexico would pay for."