Congresswoman Shelley Berkley secured House approval today for $26 million in federal funding for construction of an Army National Guard readiness center in North Las Vegas. Also included in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs package for 2010 is an additional $727,000 requested by Berkley and Rep. Dina Titus that will fund a separate Army National Guard facility in Las Vegas.
"Nevada's National Guard plays a vital role in meeting our defense needs, but they are also there to help in times of emergency and to protect against threats to our communities," said Berkley. "The funding included in this package will be used for the construction of an additional Readiness facility at the Floyd Edsall Training Center which will house both current and future Guard units. Also included in this package is an additional $727,000 for the design and construction of a new Army National Guard civil support team facility in Las Vegas. The unit that will be housed in the new facility will support our local first responders in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack on the Las Vegas Valley or other location. Now that the House has approved this package, the next step will be for the Senate to act."
The legislation also increases funding to meet the healthcare needs of veterans in Nevada and nationwide. The resources will help the VA to deliver quality health care to more than six million patients - including more than 400,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legislation includes improvements in electronic health records and paperless benefits processing to make veterans health care more efficient, additional oversight and auditing of our veterans health care system, and new practices to improve access to care for veterans in rural areas. The bill also invests in mental health services and critical medical and prosthetic research to serve our wounded warriors returning from battle.
"America's veterans deserve top notch medical care and our legislation invests in improvements and additional research that will enhance VA healthcare, including available mental health services at a time when we are seeing many of our returning troops experiencing the symptoms of PTSD," said Berkley. "I am very proud that since 2007, we have increased funding for veterans' healthcare and benefits by nearly 60%, including expansion of the GI bill to give even more of our troops the opportunity to attend a college, university or trade school."
Overall, the bill provides $53 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), $24.6 billion for Military Construction, Family Housing and BRAC, and $266.8 million for related agencies. With passage of this bill, Congress has provided a 58 percent increase in funding for veterans health care and benefits since January 2007.