This week, the House passed H.R. 5854, legislation that appropriates funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill provides $10.6 billion for military construction projects - $2.4 billion below the FY2012 levels. The drop is due mainly to a reduction in the Air Force's construction projects as well as the continued decline in funding requirements for the 2005 BRAC round.
"H.R. 5854 ensures we are providing the brave men and women of our armed forces with the necessary infrastructure to house, train, and equip them as they fight to protect each and every one of us," stated Westmoreland. "It is through this bill that we can strengthen our military and provide our veterans with the benefits they so rightly deserve."
In addition to the funding for military construction, the legislation also provided $135.4 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Of that, VA medical services receive $41.1 billion to provide for the approximately 6.3 million patients expected to be treated by the VA in FY2013. It also fulfills the mandatory funding requirements of the VA including disability compensation for almost four million veterans and their survivors and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 200,000 veterans.
"One of my most important duties as a Member of Congress is to ensure we take care of our veterans," stated Westmoreland. "It is only through their dedication and sacrifice that our country can call itself the greatest in the world. At a time when cuts to federal spending are an absolute necessity, those cuts should not be at the expense of the benefits we have promised our veterans. I am pleased to see an increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and will continue to support legislation that supports our veterans."
In total, the bill contained $71.7 billion in discretionary spending for the 2013 fiscal year -- the same as the 2012 level. The legislation passed with huge bipartisan support by a vote of 407-12. Congressman Westmoreland supported the legislation.