Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) today voted in favor of legislation supporting the nation's veterans and military construction. The legislation provides a much-needed boost in funding for veterans and addresses some of the largest problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs while adequately maintaining military infrastructure.
H.R. 2216, the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 overwhelmingly passed the House in a 421-4 vote. Upon passage, Wittman made the following statement: "Our nation's veterans made a commitment to defend this nation, and this nation must, in turn, take care of them. The backlog of claims in the VA is simply unacceptable, and I was pleased to support increased funding to ensure our veterans receive the care they have earned and deserve. In addition, this legislation provides critical funding for infrastructure improvements that support our military men and women and their families here at home and across the world, at a time when our military is being asked to do more with less. This bill funds military construction with smart reductions that maintains our nation's readiness and effectiveness across the globe, and ensures that we do not fund a new costly BRAC round at this time of uncertainty."
The bill authorizes $73.3 billion for Military Construction and VA in FY 2014, above FY2013 spending levels. Key provisions include $155 million in funding for a paperless claims process system to address the backlog of disability claims and $136 million for digital scanning of health records and benefits. Wittman recently joined with many of his colleagues in a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to take direct action with the unacceptable disability claims backlog at the VA.
The bill supports much needed military construction at Quantico, and Yorktown bases focusing on the improvement of schools for our servicemembers' children, training facilities for our all volunteer force, and transportation infrastructure improvements.