WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), Chairman of the House Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MILCON-VA) subcommittee, advanced the subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations bill. The legislation, which is the first spending bill of the fiscal year to proceed through the subcommittee level, meets the goals of providing for our veterans’ health, benefits, and programs; rebuilding the military; providing funding to house, train, and equip military personnel; providing housing and services to military families; and helping to maintain base infrastructure.
“This bill demonstrates the strong support that my colleagues and I have for the brave men and women who have endured hardships and sacrifices through their service to our great nation,” said Dent. “The bill includes significant resources to provide high-quality, comprehensive care to those who are treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs, to meet the quality of life needs of those currently serving, and to enhance our readiness and defensive posture around the world. By maintaining an emphasis on our veterans and military families, and incorporating their feedback, I am confident that this legislation will bring about positive results for our national heroes. This bill will allow us to keep the promises made to those who have served while simultaneously ensuring further accountability and oversight for taxpayer dollars.”
Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) added:
“Ensuring that the proper resources are available to rebuild our military is an essential priority of Republicans in Congress and the White House, and is key to conducting successful missions and keeping our nation secure. Our servicemen and servicewomen need the tools to do their jobs, and also need the peace of mind that their needs and the needs of their families are being taken care of here at home and around the world. Just as importantly, our veterans – who have sacrificed so much to protect our way of life – deserve the full health services and benefits they have earned.
“This legislation includes the funding and policies necessary to deliver on our promises to our military and our veterans. It also includes strong oversight measures to assure that tax dollars are being used wisely and to stop waste and abuse in its tracks, so that our troops and vets get the most benefit of every cent.”
In total, the legislation provides $88.8 billion in discretionary funding—$6 billion above the Fiscal Year 2017 level. This includes $638 million in Overseas Contingency Operations funding, which includes funding for European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) projects.
Within this total, funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is increased by $4 billion—5 percent—over the Fiscal Year 2017 level, including funding to increase access to services for veterans, and to increase oversight and accountability within the department. This includes the advance funding provided for veterans in the Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bill.
Military construction is increased by $2.1 billion—25 percent over the Fiscal Year 2017 level—to provide the necessary resources to continue to rebuild our military, to prepare our service members to face existing and emerging threats, and to care for military families.
The FY18 MILCON-VA bill provides $6 billion above the FY17 level. This includes $638 million in Overseas Contingency Operations funding (OCO), as well as the following:
- Strengthens oversight and accountability at the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to fully benefit our service members and our veterans. Several provisions are included to keep these agencies on track and to address problems that have wasted money and hurt critical services.
- Provides a total of $10.2 billion for military construction projects—an increase of $2.1 billion (25 percent) above the enacted Fiscal Year 2017 level.
- Within this amount, $638 million is provided in OCO funding for projects in countries with ongoing U.S. operations.
- These funds will provide for the construction and maintenance of facilities to enable our military to fight current and emerging threats, to support increased troop levels, and to sustain services for military families. This includes operational facilities, training facilities, hospitals, family housing, National Guard readiness centers, barracks, and other important resources.
- In total, 215 military construction projects across the country and overseas receive funding in the bill.
- Includes a total of $182.3 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding of the VA, an increase of $5.3 billion above the FY17 level. This funding will help address many of the problems currently facing the VA, and provide for better and increased access to care for our veterans.
The full text of the bill can be found here: https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-115hr-sc-ap-fy2018-milcon-subcommitteedraft.pdf
CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490