House appropriations committee advances military construction, VA bill
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.