The House Appropriations Committee recently proposed a $314.1 billion bid for veterans and military construction for 2023, an increase of $29.5 billion from 2022. Long overdue for the servicemember community, the new bill includes $135 billion in discretionary appropriations for VA, an increase of $22.8 billion above the 2022 budget. These funds would help support veterans with investments in health care (including mental health and homelessness assistance), construct family housing, childcare centers, and repair VA facilities on military bases, and adds funds to help bases adapt to rising sea levels and potential natural disasters due to climate change.
“This bill demonstrates an unwavering commitment to our brave service members, their families and to our Veterans,” Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23) said. “It addresses military infrastructure and readiness needs of current service members, and it provides the benefits and medical care that Veterans have rightly earned in their service to our Nation. The bill specifically targets military housing construction and child development needs, women, and mental health priorities, including infertility treatment coverage, and it also addresses our growing resiliency challenges…”
While it is $48 million less than what President Biden requested as referenced in The Hill, these improvements are much needed for those who have committed themselves to the country.
Below is a breakdown of where the funds will be allocated.
- $118.8 billion for Veterans Medical Care, $21.8 billion more than 2022
- $13.9 billion is for Mental Healthcare, $743.8 million more than 2022
- $911.1 million is for Gender-specific Care and Programmatic Efforts for Women, $70.7 million more than 2022
- $2.7 billion is for Homeless Assistance Programs, $531 million more than 2022
- $183.3 million is for Substance Use Disorder programs, $27 million more than 2022
- $85.9 million is for Whole Health Initiatives, $2.3 million more than 2022
In addition, the bill includes $128.1 billion in advance for 2024 to fund veterans’ medical care including Medical and Prosthetic Research, a new VA Electronic Health Record System, and more.
According to Bloomberg, $15.1 billion of the military construction bill includes:
- $2.1 billion for family housing
- $1.3 billion for Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan projects
- $1 billion for construction or alteration of Guard and Reserve facilities in states and territories
- $653.3 million for the Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program
- $574.7 million for base realignment and closure, including $200 million for cleanup of contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS
- $274.4 million for child development centers
- $220.1 million for the NATO Security Investment Program
- $135 million for climate change and resiliency projects
Not only will this construction provide better resources for our service members but will also provide jobs to the areas in which the military bases are located.
The committee is expected to review and vote on the bills next Wednesday, June 22.