House appropriations committee advances military construction, VA bill

The Department of Veterans of Affairs is seen in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 3, 2021.
Greg Nash
The Department of Veterans of Affairs is seen in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 32-26 to advance its $314.1 billion military construction and veterans’ affairs appropriations bill for fiscal 2023, sending it to the full lower chamber for consideration.

The top line includes $15.1 billion for military construction projects, as well as roughly $299 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The bill came a day after the committee advanced its $761 billion defense appropriations bill on Wednesday.  

Between the two bills, the Pentagon would get about $776 billion in appropriations, which is $3 billion more than what President Biden requested for the agency.

The military construction portion of the bill advanced Thursday includes $2.1 billion for family housing construction, of which $373 million would go toward addressing issues of mold and lead in military housing. The measure also includes $200 million to clean up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from military installations.

In addition, the bill includes $1 billion for construction and alteration of National Guard and Reserve facilities, and $1.3 billion for shipyard infrastructure optimization.

For the VA, the bill includes $135 billion in discretionary spending, of which $118.8 billion is for veterans’ medical care.

Consistent with Biden’s request, the bill separates VA medical care from other nondefense discretionary spending.

The measure would appropriate $118.1 billion for VA medical care in fiscal 2023, and $128.1 billion in advance fiscal year 2024 funding for such medical care.  

The bill includes $16.2 billion for non-VA medical care programs, including $2 billion for construction projects and $1.76 billion to maintain the VA Electronic Health Record System.

Separately, the bill includes $440.9 billion in discretionary appropriations for Arlington National Cemetery, the American Battle Monuments Commission, the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Tags Biden Defense Department Department of Defense Department of Veterans Affairs House Appropriations Committee Joe Biden Pentagon
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