On May 22 the House Appropriations Committee gave voice-vote approval of the draft fiscal year (FY) 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The legislation provides FY 2014 funding mainly for two accounts: Military Construction funding for the infrastructure to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide construction funds for projects pertaining to the quality of life of troops and their families, and for military base structure; and Veterans Affairs (VA) funding for veterans’ benefits and programs.
The measure totals $73.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.4 billion above the enacted level for FY 2013, and approximately $2.4 billion above the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts, which do not affect the Veterans spending portion of the bill. This level is nearly $1.4 billion below the President’s request for these programs. The increase is primarily due to advance funding approved last year for veterans’ medical care and an increase in veterans’ spending for benefits and programs, such as those to reduce the backlog in claims processing. Some of this funding is offset by reductions in the Military Construction portion of the bill.
The bill also seeks to save taxpayer dollars; for example, the legislation includes rescinding unused funding from previous fiscal years. It did not provide funding for ten proposed military construction projects that are deemed not needed or justified at this time, and it reduced excess or unnecessary funding for six other projects.