Senate military construction bill doesn’t use war fund, unlike House

A Senate 2016 spending bill for military construction projects and veterans’ benefits does not rely on money from the Pentagon’s war fund, unlike a similar bill passed by the House.

An aide to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said the bill doesn’t contain funding from the war bill, but declined to explain why.

{mosads}The difference could revive the debate on Capitol Hill over relying on the war fund to circumvent spending caps.

Senate appropriators are scheduled to mark up the $77.6 billion bill Thursday. 

The House already passed its version, which totaled $76.6 billion.

House Republicans included $532 million in war funds to pay for military construction. That’s a tiny amount of the $96 billion Republicans want to allot to the war fund next year.

Under the Senate bill, military construction projects would receive $8.1 billion and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs would receive $69.2 billion in discretionary funding for 2016.

The bill funds missile defense programs, military medical facilities, military family housing and educational facilities. It also funds VA medical services as well as efforts to create an electronic health record and address the disability claims backlog.

According to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Appropriations panel, the bill fully funds the Veterans Benefits Administration at $2.69 billion.

The bill, however, does not provide full funding for Obama’s request for a $105 million boost in advance funding for non-recurring maintenance at VA medical facilities.

Tags Barbara Mikulski Thad Cochran

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