CONGRESSMAN BISHOP HAILS FUNDING BILL THAT HELPS VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES
Jun 25, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Vice Chair of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon/VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, voted in support of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 MilCon/VA appropriations bill. The funding bill is the product of months of bipartisan collaboration and provides $279.9 billion for programs which represents an increase of $28.1 billion – more than 10 percent – above 2021. The bill now advances to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
“We must care for those who have borne the battle as well as their families. I am proud to say that this bill significantly increases funds for our VA system so that new facilities, like those which will serve my district and others across the country, can meet the growing needs of our veterans. Many of them return home bearing the visible and invisible wounds of war. This bill also targets funds to improve mental health services, deal with the fallout of exposure to toxic substances, reduce homelessness among our veteran community, and grow our VA resources to better serve women — the fastest growing cohort within the veteran community,” said Congressman Bishop. “This bill also makes important investments in our military families by providing the funds needed to improve housing, provide services like childcare, and addressing quality of life challenges a large institution like our military faces.”
The FY 2022 MilCon/VA appropriations bill funds military construction projects and veterans’ benefits, health care, and other programs. Congressman Bishop is a former Ranking Member and current Vice Chair of the subcommittee where he has long championed programs to care for military families and veterans.
Department of Veterans Affairs highlights include $307 million for Rural Health Initiatives, an increase of $7 million above the 2021 enacted level and equal to the President’s budget request. This will build upon VA’s success in having served 2.9 million Veterans at 600 rural serving sites.
It also dedicates $13.2 billion for Mental Healthcare, an increase of $2.9 billion above the 2021 enacted level and $1 million above the President’s budget request, including $599 million for suicide prevention outreach. This will support the nearly 2 million Veterans who receive mental health services in a VA specialty mental health setting, as well as support suicide prevention services like the Veterans Crisis Line, which saw an increase in demand by over 59% in the last year.
Veterans have also been swept up in the opioid abuse epidemic and to help tackle this problem, the bill includes $621 million for Opioid Abuse Prevention. This funding will allow for more targeted funding of pain management and opioid safety programs primarily at the facility level.
The most recent homelessness survey showed that on a given night in January 2020, an estimated 37,252 Veterans were experiencing homelessness and this bill provides $2.2 billion for Homeless Assistance Programs to enhance VA’s ability to reach homeless Veterans.
With regard to the military construction programs of the bill, Ft. Benning will receive $13.2 million for barracks construction. The bill also commits $1.423 billion for Family Housing, an increase of $87 million above the 2021 enacted level and the same as the budget request. Within this amount, Family Housing Support and Management is funded at $116.2 million to address issues such as mold, vermin, and lead in military family housing.
It also provides $213 million for Child Development Centers, of which $33 million is for planning and design for future facilities, and in total is $193 million above the FY 2022 budget request. The funds will support increased capacity and better facilities for the 1.2 million children of active duty servicemembers worldwide.
More details regarding the bill may be found by visiting the House Appropriations Committee’s website.