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Senate Committee Advances Military, Veterans Affairs Spending Bill

On May 22, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, 30-0, the FY2013 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies spending bill (S. 3215). The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies advanced the bill on May 15 (see The Source, 5/18/12). On May 16, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the legislation (as-yet-unnumbered), which would include $71.7 billion in discretionary funding, equal to FY2012 spending levels and $740 million less than the president’s request (see The Source, 5/18/12).

The measure would provide a total of $71.9 billion in discretionary funding, $465.9 million below President Obama’s FY2013 budget request and $227.7 million above FY2012. According to the committee report, the measure funds “key quality of life facilities, including barracks, family housing, child care centers, schools and hospitals” (p. 4). The committee recognizes the growing numbers of women veterans and urges the Veterans Health Administration to update older medical facilities to “address the needs of women veterans and veterans with children” (p. 40). Additionally, the committee urges the military services’ surgeons general to “ensure that the appropriate family, maternal, and infant health care facilities are incorporated into, and prioritized in, the overall construction budget of growth bases” (p. 19). According to the committee summary, the bill would provide $403 million to women’s veterans programs, equal to the president’s request and $60 million above FY2012.

The chart below compares FY2013 spending levels for programs in the House and Senate bills to FY2012 levels and the president’s request.

Program/Agency

FY2012

President’s Request

House Bill

Senate Bill

Military Construction $13.05 billion $11.22 billion $10.65 billion $10.65 billion
Family housing $1.683 billion $1.651 billion $1.65 billion $1.651 billion
Department of Veterans’ Affairs* $124.156 billion $140.332 billion $135.4 billion $135.6 billion
Veterans Health Administration $53.122 billion $53.304 billion $54.462 billion $53.279 billion

*Includes discretionary and mandatory funding.

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