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House Committee Approves FY 2008 Appropriations Additional Bill For Department Of Veterans Affairs, Military Construction

July 30, 2017

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted 56-0 to approve a fiscal year 2008 bill that would provide $109.2 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction projects, CQ Today reports. The bill would allocate $4 billion more than the $105.2 billion requested by President Bush and $18.2 billion more than FY 2007 allocations. VA, which would be allocated $87.7 billion under the bill, would receive $3.8 billion more than Bush's request and $9.9 billion more than the FY 2007 funding level (Yoest, CQ Today, 6/6). The bill would boost funding above Bush's requested levels for a number of VA programs, including the following additional amounts:$604.3 million more for mental health and traumatic brain injury initiatives;

$193 million more to fully staff mental health and trauma centers;

$508 million more for maintenance and renovations of medical facilities;

$69 million more for medical and prosthetic research;

$70.9 million more for substance abuse programs;

$23 million more to assist an estimated 2,300 more homeless veterans; and

$12.5 million more to expand outpatient services for blind veterans.

After the bill appeared to pass unanimously by voice vote, Democrats "called a surprise roll-call vote aimed at testing the GOP's commitment to spending discipline," CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 6/7). White House officials have stated that Bush would veto any appropriations bills that exceed his budget requests (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 6/6). Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) said, "The fact is it is not credible for the White House to claim that they're going to veto that bill." House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee ranking member Bill Young (R-Fla.) said, "I don't see that bill getting vetoed," adding, "If it does, I see it getting overridden" (CongressDaily, 6/7).

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