Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill
The House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill provides $71.7 billion in discretionary budget authority which is the same amount of funding provided in FY 2012 and is slightly below the President’s FY 2013 request and Senate reported levels.
The bill includes $10.6 billion for military construction projects, an 18.3% decrease over FY 2012 levels, and $60.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs which is a 3.9% increase over currently enacted levels. The spending levels in the bill do not exceed the 302(b) allocations adopted by the Appropriations Committee which are consistent with the overall spending level approved by the House in the Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 112).
Military Construction Programs. The bill provides $10.6 billion in funding for military construction projects which represents a decrease of 18.3% compared to 2012 enacted levels and is approximately 5% below the President’s FY 2013 request. The decline is attributed to a planned pause in military construction by the Air Force as well as the declining funding requirements of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) process. Included in the funding for military construction projects is $1.65 billion (approximately level with FY 2012 enacted and FY 2013 requested levels) to ensure continued quality housing for military families and $927 million to provide for the construction and alteration of new or existing military medical facilities.
Veterans Affairs. Approximately $60.7 billion in funding is provided to the Department of Veterans Affairs by this bill, an increase of 3.9% over FY 2012 levels and slightly lower than the President’s request and Senate Appropriations Committee approved level. This figure includes $52.5 billion in advanced funding for veterans medical services that was provided in the FY 2012 appropriations bill. The bulk of the appropriation is used to provide medical services to the estimated 6.3 million patients that will be treated in FY 2013. In addition to general medical programs funding is also provided for services such as mental health care, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury treatment, programs provided specifically to homeless veterans, and rural health initiatives.
Advance Appropriations for Veterans Medical Programs. Included in the legislation is $54.5 billion in advance FY 2014 funding to the Veterans Administration for medical services. This is the same level provided by H. Con. Res. 112 and is approximately $2 billion above the advance funding level provided in FY 2012.
Arlington National Cemetery. This bill provides $174 million in funding for Arlington National Cemetery, an increase of $128 million over FY 2012 levels as well as the President’s request. The increase is attributable to $84 million in funding for the Millennium Project, the one hundred year expansion program of the Cemetery, and $19 million for design and planning activities of the Navy Annex Expansion.
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