(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), Chairman of the House Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MILCON-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the House passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 MILCON-VA Appropriations Act this evening:
“One of our primary jobs as Members of Congress is to ensure that the government is funded and fully operational, especially as it pertains to our military,” Dent said. “The men and women who serve on the front lines in defense of our great nation deserve peace of mind when it comes to the care and benefits they have earned. This bill will provide that peace of mind by providing the highest level of funding ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and meeting many of the welfare and readiness needs of the Department of Defense (DOD). The MILCON-VA bill accomplishes this by providing a $6 billion increase, which will enable steps to address critical issues such as reducing the disability claims backlog, guaranteeing continued medical care access for veterans, replacing the VA’s electronic record system, and improving our military’s infrastructure. Additionally, this bill looks to the future of our national security by prohibiting the closure of Guantanamo Naval Station and prioritizing military readiness and expansion through construction projects for training facilities, hospitals, and the bases that serve our troops at home and abroad.”
The FY18 MILCON-VA Act was included as a part of H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, and provides $78.3 billion in discretionary funds to the VA and $10.2 billion for military construction projects. Funding for the Department of Defense, energy and water infrastructure investments, and the Legislative Branch of federal government are also funded through other sections of H.R. 3219. H.R. 3219 passed the House by a vote of 235-192.
In addition to the aforementioned issues, the MILCON-VA portion of H.R. 3219 will also fund:
- Mental health care services and suicide prevention activities;
- Traumatic brain injury treatment;
- Hepatitis C treatment;
- Opioid abuse prevention;
- Rural health initiatives;
- $1.4 billion for quality military housing;
- Support and care for 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries, including wounded troops abroad;
- $575 million for National Guard and Reserve facilities;
- 215 military construction projects across the country and overseas.
“I remain committed to providing the necessary care and military resources to ensure that the men and women of our armed services are properly prepared and equipped to protect our great nation, and that they continue to be provided for as veterans,” Dent concluded. “This bill is a result of that commitment that was developed through an open and bipartisan process, and I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to secure its passage on the House floor.”
For more information, the entirety of H.R. 3219 can be found here. The MILCON-VA portion is labeled as “Division C.”
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490