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Senate Approves Military Construction, Veterans Spending Bill

On November 10, the Senate approved, 93-0, the FY2016 Military Construction, Veterans’ Affairs, and Related Agencies spending bill (H.R. 2029). The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an earlier version of the legislation on May 21 (see The Source, 5/22/15); the House passed its version of the bill on April 30 (see The Source, 5/1/15).

As amended, the bill would provide $79.7 billion in discretionary funds in FY2016 for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), military construction, and other programs. According to the committee press release, this amount is $2.1 billion over the committee-reported bill, $7.9 billion over FY2015, and $1 billion over President Obama’s FY2016 budget request. The amount reflects adjustments made to comport with the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 114-74), which increased caps for defense and nondefense spending (see The Source, 10/30/15).

VA would receive $71.2 billion in discretionary funds in FY2016; military construction, which includes family housing, would receive $8.2 billion.

During consideration of the bill, the Senate adopted, by unanimous consent, two amendments by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to require VA to provide gender-appropriate prosthetic, medical supplies, and equipment.

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