Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, last night joined the House majority in passing the FY13 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which Rehberg helped craft as a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Among its provisions, the legislation increases funding for veterans and family members while finding $600 million in taxpayer savings, compared with President Obama's budget request, to help reduce the deficit.
"The federal budget is about setting priorities, and keeping the promises our nation made to the men and women who served heroically in uniform is one of the very highest priorities," said Rehberg. "We must honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families, and that means making sure the programs that they need are sufficiently funded even while we are tightening our belts in other places."
Montana has one of the highest per-capita populations of veterans in the country, and Rehberg has fought tirelessly in the House to keep the promises made by a grateful nation.
The House-passed bill increases funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $2.3 billion in FY 2013 to a total of $60.7 billion in discretionary funding. This amount includes $73 million for suicide-prevention services, $6 billion for homeless veterans' outreach and just under $1 billion for military medical facilities.
Rehberg also included language in the bill permitting the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) to purchase land from cemeteries in eight states, including Montana. These cemeteries would then be given National Cemetery status. There are no active national cemeteries in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho or North Dakota. The language included in the House-passed bill specifically addresses rural cemeteries in eight underserved states. American Veterans and their spouses are afforded the honor of being buried at national and state cemeteries.