Last evening, Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04)voted in favor of H.R. 2216, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014, which passed the House 421-4.
"I am a longtime supporter of our servicemen, both past and present, and believe it is imperative that we provide these brave individuals and their families with the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned through their sacrifices on behalf of our great Nation," said Hall. "With Texas representing one of the largest veteran populations in the country -- over 1.6 million veterans -- supporting our troops and veterans is also of great personal concern for the 4th District and our State."
"Providing adequate support for our veterans and reining in spending is not exclusive, as this bill shows," Hall continued. "This bill works to adequately and thoughtfully fund our veterans' quality of life through family housing, medical facilities, guard and reserve facilities, and education facilities, while at the same time conducting oversight and reducing excess funds where possible."
Specifically, H.R. 2216 would:
-Support medical treatment including funding for traumatic brain injury treatment, suicide prevention, mental health care, and rural health initiatives;
-Coordinate an effort to jumpstart the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs electronic health record system to help ensure troops and veterans have seamless, quality health care access;
-Promote the transition of disability claims into a paperless system and the digital scanning of health records in order to combat backlog; and
-Provide funding for military construction projects.
Spending cuts include:
-Rescinding unused funding from previous years;
-Implementing strict reporting requirements to track the performance of each regional office dealing with VA disability claims in order to guarantee progress is made and backlogged claims do not continue to increase;
-Reducing North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Security Investment Program (NSIP) funding as NATO members contribute to the cost of construction needed to support the roles of the major NATO commands;
-Reducing funding for military housing due to savings from the privatization of family housing; and
-Reducing funding for some military construction projects.
"I thank our troops and veterans for their service to all Americans, and I will continue to support our servicemen and women while working for responsible spending and a balanced budget."