Last week, the House Appropriations Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (HAC-MilCon/VA) approved FY2017 funding for Military Construction (included in the total Department of Defense (DoD) budget request) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The bill now goes to the full appropriations committee for consideration.
The MilCon/VA bill is the first FY2017 appropriations bill to advance in Congress. Noting the beginning of the appropriations season in the House, House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said “once again, the Committee is getting off to a fast and productive start. This Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill is a critically important piece of legislation that will provide the resources our veterans and servicemen and women need and deserve.”
The Military Construction portion of the FY2017 MilCon/VA bill provides $7.9 billion for military construction projects, family housing, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), and the NATO Security Investment Program. This amount is $250 million above the president’s request. The bill also funds $172 million in the Military Construction Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) appropriation.
Funding for specific active and reserve component military construction projects in the bill is set at $5.6 billion. However, another $515 million is provided in FY2017 for the Army ($41 million), Navy and Marine Corps ($294 million), Air Force ($26 million), Army national Guard ($68 million) and Army Reserve ($86 million) to be used for projects (identified in priority order) in unfunded priority lists provided to Congress.
The HAC subcommittee bill would fully fund the request for Family Housing projects ($1.3 billion) and the NATO Security Investment Program ($178 million) to support fixed and mobile infrastructure projects for NATO operations.
The bill also would rescind $144 million from prior appropriations Acts.
A provision in the bill would continue to prohibit the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station and would prohibit the use of funds for a facility within the United States to house detainees.