Today the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve a Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (Milcon/VA) Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Ranking Member on the Milcon/VA Subcommittee, cast a proxy vote in favor of the bill, which allocates $146.6 billion in funding, $465.9 million below the President's budget request. The bill fully funds the $143.4 million in requested military construction projects in Illinois.
"This bipartisan agreement reflects commitments to our national defense and taking care of the growing number of veterans who served with distinction," said Senator Kirk. "Continued development of the integrated Electronic Health Record is essential and will help reduce the growing VA claims backlog."
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Projects in Illinois:
Scott Air Force Base - Defense Information Systems Agency Facility Upgrade - $84.1 million
Great Lakes -- TriCare Drug Laboratory Replacement - $ 28.7 million
Fort Sheridan -- Army Reserve Center - $28 million
Scott Air Force Base -- Medical Logistics Warehouse - $2.6 million
Provides $3.32 billion for Information Technology projects, equal to the Administration's budget request: $104 million is allotted for the advancement of the integrated Electronic Health Record program in coordination with the Department of Defense.
Provides $53.3 billion for veterans health care and $74.8 billion for veterans benefits.
Provides $86 million to the Board of Veterans Appeals to reduce the claims backlog, which is expected to grow to more than 65,000 claims in 2013.
Funds the Administration's request for missile defense facilities in Romania at $293 million.