CONGRESSMAN BISHOP STATEMENT ON FY 2019 MILCON/VA APPROPRIATIONS BILL MARK UP
May 8, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), a senior member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MILCON/VA), released the following statement regarding the full House Appropriations Committee’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 MILCON/VA Appropriations bill, which provides funding for our nation’s veterans programs and military construction needs.
“Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee once again came together in a bipartisan fashion to meet the needs of our service members, veterans, and their families. As a senior member, and former ranking member, of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I am confident that the FY 2019 bill enhances our military readiness and provides the resources necessary to deliver quality care to our nation’s veterans.
"This legislation ensures that our Armed forces operate in facilities that support our service members and their families wherever they work, train, or live. I am pleased that the bill provides a total of $112.6 million toward military construction needs in Georgia. This includes considerable investment in the Army’s cyberwarfare capabilities at Fort Gordon, as well as funding for a much needed Welding and Body Repair Shop Facility on Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Additionally, this bill will initiate construction on a $13.6 million Naval Reserve Training Center on Fort Benning, which will allow for training enhancements and increased support for reservists.
"The FY2019 MILCON/VA appropriations bill also continues to fund our veterans healthcare programs and ensures our veterans have continued access to the VA programs and services that they have earned.
"I believe this bill would be beneficial to our military service members, veterans and their families and I am hopeful that it is preserved fully as it is considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives."
Below is a list of highlights of funding levels and other key provisions in the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs Bill:
BACKGROUND & BILL HIGHLIGHTS:
FY19 Mark: $96.9 billion
FY19 OCO: $921 million
FY18 Enacted: $92.7 billion
FY18 OCO: $638 million
MILCON/VA IN GEORGIA:
$99 million for the Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon
Navy / Marine Corps
$13.6 million for the Fort Benning Naval Reserve Training Center
$33 million for the Marine Corps Logistics Base – Albany, GA Welding and Body Repair Shop
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION FUNDING:
Funding Levels: The bill provides a total of $10.3 billion for military construction projects – an increase of $241 million, or 2.4 percent, above the enacted fiscal year 2018 level.
Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO): In addition to this amount, $921.4 million is provided in OCO funding for projects in countries with ongoing U.S. operations and the European Deterrence Initiative.
Military Family Housing: The bill provides $1.6 billion to fund construction, operation, and maintenance of military family housing for fiscal year 2019. Which is $173 million over the enacted levels.
Guard and Reserve Facilities: The bill includes $467 million for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in 20 states and territories, the same as the budget request.
Department of Defense (DOD) Education Facilities: The bill includes $368 million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at four DOD Education Activities facilities located within the U.S. and overseas.
Funding Levels: The legislation includes a total of $194.5 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for VA, an increase of $9 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level. Discretionary funding alone for VA programs in the bill totals $85.3 billion, an increase of $3.9 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level.
Claims Backlog: Reducing the disability claims backlog is essential to ensuring adequate compensation and care for the more than 450,000 veterans still wading through the VA bureaucracy to get a final decision on their claims. The bill will help speed this process and get these veterans the decisions they are awaiting by providing $53 million above the request for the Veterans Benefits Administration, and $14 million above the 2018 level for the Board of Veterans Appeals, to be used for hiring additional claims and appellate staff, digital scanning of health records, and overtime pay.
VA Electronic Health Record System: The bill contains $1.2 billion for the new VA electronic health record system. This will ensure the implementation of the contract creating an electronic record system for VA that is identical to one being developed for DOD.