Senate Committee Approves FY22 MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Appropriations today approved the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Act, providing support for critical housing, infrastructure, and facilities for U.S. military forces and their families, as well as increased funding for veterans health care and benefits.
The measure, which was advanced by a bipartisan vote of 25-5, provides $124.359 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $11.235 billion above the FY21 enacted level, including $11 billion in defense funding and $113.359 billion in non-defense funding. The total increase above the FY21 enacted level is driven largely by rapidly rising costs for veterans health care and IT support.
“This is a strong bill that prioritizes investments in critical military construction projects and focuses on taking good care of our veterans. I commend the hard work of Senators Boozman and Heinrich in crafting this legislation and urge my colleagues in the Senate to support it without reservation,” said Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
“Investments in our defense infrastructure will enhance readiness and allow us to protect our nation and allies against evolving global threats. Funding in this bill will strengthen national security, support military families, and ensure veterans have access to the care and services they earned,” said U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), ranking member of the MilCon-VA Appropriations Subcommittee. “By providing record-level funding for our veterans, we are demonstrating our commitment to addressing critical challenges they face including preventing veteran suicide, increasing rural access to health care, investing in essential mental health programs, and putting an end to veteran homelessness.”
Military Construction – $11.0 billion for military construction projects. This amount funds 176 major construction projects at military bases and installations around the world to enhance resiliency and support warfighter readiness. Within this amount, the bill provides $1.4 billion to improve and maintain housing for servicemembers and their families.
Veterans Affairs (VA) – $112.9 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an increase of $8.5 billion over the FY21 enacted level, to address rapidly increasing costs of health care and IT support. These resources will provide the healthcare, benefits, and memorial services earned by U.S. service members and veterans.
- VA Medical Care – $97.5 billion for VA medical care, an increase of $7.6 billion over the FY21 enacted level, including $13.1 billion for mental health; $2.4 billion for telehealth services; $2.1 billion for veterans homelessness programs; $1.4 billion for the Caregivers Program; $621.3 million for opioid misuse prevention and treatment; $882 million for medical and prosthetic research; $820.4 million for health care specifically for women veterans; and $327.5 million for rural health initiatives.
- Veterans Electronic Health Record – $2.5 billion for the veterans electronic health record. This allows VA to continue deployment of its new electronic health record that is interoperable with the Department of Defense’s system.
- VA IT Systems – $5.5 billion for IT systems, an increase of $600 million over the FY21 enacted level, to support the development, operations, and maintenance of systems.
- VA Mandatory Funding – $155.4 billion for mandatory veterans benefits, including veteran disability compensation programs, education benefits, and vocational rehabilitation and employment training.
- Advance Appropriations – $111.3 billion in FY23 advance discretionary funding for veterans health care and $156.6 billion in FY23 advance mandatory funding for veterans benefits.
Related Agencies – The legislation also includes $433.5 million, an increase of $155.2 million over the FY21 enacted level, for related agencies, including the American Battle Monuments Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The increase is primarily attributable to construction needed to complete the southern expansion project at Arlington National Cemetery.
Next Article Previous Article