WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, last night voted for H.R. 5854, the Fiscal Year 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. The measure, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides $71.7 billion in discretionary funding for programs that benefit military personnel, veterans and their families – a level equal to Fiscal Year 2012 spending.

“H.R. 5854 lives up to our responsibility to provide the highest quality health, housing and education opportunities to our veterans,” said Rep. Dent. “While Americans continue to call on Congress to cut federal spending, they also understand the men and women who served in our Armed Forces have earned the best care and support we can provide. The bill passed by the House last night achieves both goals by increasing funding for critical veterans programs without increasing overall federal spending.”

The bill includes $60.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs to enhance medical and mental health services, housing programs for homeless veterans, job training initiatives and more. This level represents a 4 percent increase above current spending levels. H.R. 5854 also includes $174 million for the continued improvement of Arlington National Cemetery, whose condition had deteriorated in recent years due to woeful mismanagement.