WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill by a bipartisan vote of 409 to 4:
“America has asked for unprecedented sacrifice from its all-volunteer military. Our men and women in uniform have answered with dedication and heroism that will be retold for generations. They have kept their charge unfailingly—and now, we have a duty to them. To every one of our troops, we owe up-to-date equipment and facilities. To every one of our veterans, we owe a lifetime commitment.
“I am proud to say that the 110th Congress has been the most troops-friendly, veteran-friendly Congress in recent memory. Last year, we passed the largest single increase in the 77-year history of the V.A. We have passed a new GI Bill to guarantee a full college education to the troops who have served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have improved veterans health care for 5.8 million patients. We have given troops a pay raise of more than 3.5%, two years in a row, larger than the president’s request in both years. We have worked to get our troops in the field more body armor, more up-armored Humvees, and more Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
“Today, thanks to the leadership of Chairmen Obey and Edwards, we are continuing that work. This Military Construction and Veterans Appropriations Bill includes $72.7 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $3.4 billion to meet the needs not covered by the President’s request. This bill will mean new barracks for our soldiers, child care centers for their families, and up-to-date training and medical facilities.
“For our veterans, this bill provides $47.7 billion dollars. Where will that funding go? Reading down the list tells a story of just how much our veterans have sacrificed in this time of war; just how much they are counting on us to honor those sacrifices; and just how much Congress has risen to the challenge. The bill includes funding for new-generation prosthetics; for medical research into trauma and mental health; for substance abuse treatment; and for the care of our homeless veterans—as well as other priorities for our veterans.
“Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that our appropriations process has been contentious and hard-fought. But in the face of our troops’ sacrifices—in the face of our veterans’ needs—we must put partisanship aside. Democrats and Republicans alike are united by an unshakeable respect for military service, for our troops and their families. That is why we were just as united in support of this bill.”