Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ranking Member
- Sanford Bishop
- Barbara Lee
- Tim Ryan
- Department of Defense
- Military Construction, Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, Defense-Wide, and Guard and Reserve Forces
- Chemical Demilitarization Construction, Defense-Wide
- Military Family Housing Construction and Operation and Maintenance, Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, and Defense-Wide
- Family Housing Improvement Fund
- Military Unaccompanied Housing Improvement Fund
- Homeowners Assistance Fund
- Base Realignment
- Closure Accounts NATO Security Investment Program
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Related Agencies
- American Battle Monuments Commission
- Armed Forces Retirement Home
- Department of Defense, Civil, Cemeterial Expenses, Army
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the three-bill package that Republicans are bringing to the Floor today.
This week, the House is expected to consider a three-bill "minibus" that includes the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bills.
Even with this short time period, this bill addresses many members’ concerns as well as critical issues impacting our veterans and active and reserve servicemembers.
Turning to the MilCon/VA bill, I first want to recognize the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe to those who have sacrificed for us in our armed forces as well as their family members who share in the service to our country. That is why our work is so important to ensure our veterans receive the honors, benefits, and assistance they have earned.
Mr. Chairman, while I believe this is a good allocation for the FY 2019 MilconVA Bill, there is one problem that needs to be addressed as we move through the process. The bill includes $69 million dollars for a High-Value Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. Mr. Chairman, there are 41 detainees at GTMO. This works out to a cost of $1.7 million dollars per detainee.
The Fiscal Year 2019 bill for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs would provide $96.9 billion, a $4 billion increase over the Fiscal Year 2018 enacted level.
The FY 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill provides $88.166 billion, excluding OCO.
Mr. Chairman, it is clear that a solution will require a bipartisan majority of both Houses. I believe every member of this Committee is ready to work and do the right thing. I believe that it is time we get past these unrealistic beliefs that we can cut our way to prosperity. If this failed philosophy persists, our work and our mandate will only getter tougher. We must be more strategic about how we handle our federal budget.
The veterans we seek to assist in this bill will also be harmed if other appropriations bills cut essential programs like job training, elderly and disabled housing, and childcare programs. Cuts to the federal workforce across the government are a direct threat to veterans, who made up 30.9 percent of the federal workforce in FY 15.
June 5, 2017 Press Release
“We are truly encouraged by Secretary Shulkin’s decision to move forward with a system that allows patient health data to reside in a single system, and brings our service members and veterans closer to uninterrupted care between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs."