Cochran Statement on Passage of MilCon-VA Appropriations

Veterans Funding Measure is First Stand-Alone Appropriations Bill Amended, Debated and Passed on Senate Floor Since 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today released the following statement marking Senate passage of the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill (HR.2029):

“This bipartisan bill ensures that our veterans, active duty military and their families have the support that they deserve. It is our duty to meet our obligation to the men and women who have risked their lives to defend our nation.

“I am pleased that the Senate, for the first time in more than four years, has debated, amended and passed an individual appropriations bill. Passing appropriations bills is a fundamental congressional responsibility and the best way to both oversee the performance of the federal government and ensure that we are responsibly addressing public needs.

“I commend Senator Kirk for his thoughtful crafting of this legislation and for leading his subcommittee in a responsible, bipartisan fashion to ensure that our veterans have the support they deserve.

“We look forward to working with the House to finish work on this important bill to provide the necessary resources to improve veterans’ health care, benefit claims processing and medical research.”

The legislation, which passed the Senate 93 to 0, is the first stand-alone appropriations measure amended, debated, and passed in the Senate since 2011. This year also marks the first time since 2009 that all 12 appropriations bills were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate’s FY2016 MilCon-VA measure provides a total of $79.7 billion in discretionary funding, a more than $2.1 billion increase over the committee-reported bill. This amount is $7.9 billion above the FY2015 funding level and $1.0 billion over the President’s FY2016 budget request.