Today, the House passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which invests in initiatives to improve the quality of life for our military, our veterans, and their families. This bill continues the Democratic Congress' commitment to our nation's veterans and will amount to a 58% increase in the Department of Veterans Affairs in the past 2.5 years. Among other important investments, this funding will enable the VA to provide adequate health care for our vets, including 419,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
This week we also passed two additional appropriations bills that help lay the groundwork for a strong economy and a secure nation. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill invests in President Obama’s vision for renewed U.S. diplomacy which will strengthen our national security. The Agriculture Appropriations bill builds on the success of the Economic Recovery Act with investments in rural housing projects, helps those hardest hit by the recession through nutrition programs for low-income women and children, and protects public health through inspections and oversight of the food we eat to keep Americans safe from food-borne illnesses.
Next week, we will continue our work on the Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bills. The Energy and Water Appropriations bill contains important funding to increase energy independence and combat global warming, and the Financial Services Appropriations bill makes needed investments to restore the regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect consumers from the kind of crisis we experienced last Fall.