The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2266) which funds military construction and veterans' affairs projects by $73.3 billion for fiscal year 2014.
Included in this legislation is funding of a new national cemetery in Sarpy County that will provide a burial option closer to home for over 112,000 underserved Veterans in the Omaha area.
"Providing a final resting place for our area veterans has been a top priority of mine for a number of years," said Terry. "Our veterans and their families deserve a final honorable resting place close to home and I look forward to watching this world-class facility that honors our veterans' sacrifices being built in the Omaha Metro area."
In 2009, Representative Terry led the effort in the House to the Veteran Population Threshold changed which is a determining factor in the location of all new national cemeteries. This effort led to the inclusion of a provision in the MilCon/VA FY 2010 budget establishing a national cemetery in Sarpy County.
On December 20, 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acquired land in Sarpy County, Nebraska, a 236-acre site located at the northeast corner of South 144th Street (Highway 50) and Schram Road for $6.2 million. VA's FY2014 budget requested $36 million for the construction of the new national cemetery.
Also included in this legislation passed today by the House was an amendment authored by Rep. Terry that addresses the cost over runs and delays in building of major construction projects that includes military hospitals. This amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to increase funding of current VA construction projects.
"My amendment is simple," said Terry. "It tells the VA they may not spend any additional money on construction projects that are in progress above what their initial prospectus and cost estimates described when requesting Congressional authorization for the project."
Terry concluded: "The VA needs to get their contract and bidding system under control, get a better idea how much a new hospital should cost, and be held to their estimate so we can see that timely completion of hospitals under construction and move on to a future projects."