Daniel H. Else Specialist in National Defense
Christine Scott Specialist in Social Policy
Sidath Viranga Panangala Specialist in Veterans Policy
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill provides funding for the planning, design, construction, alteration, and improvement of facilities used by active and reserve military components worldwide. It capitalizes military family housing and the U.S. share of the NATO Security Investment Program, and finances the implementation of installation closures and realignments. It underwrites veterans benefit and health care programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides for the creation and maintenance of U.S. cemeteries and battlefield monuments within the United States and abroad, and supports the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Armed Forces Retirement Homes, and Arlington National Cemetery. The bill also funds construction supporting military operations overseas (known as Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO), a function previously carried out through emergency supplemental appropriations, and advance appropriations for veterans medical services.
President Barack Obama submitted his request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriations on February 1, 2010. For the appropriations accounts included in this bill, his request totaled $191.7 billion in new budget authority, divided into four major categories: Title I (military construction and family housing) at $18.7 billion; Title II (veterans affairs) at $171.4 billion; Title III (related agencies) at $283.8 million; and Title IV (a new category of funding for construction in support of active military operations overseas) at $1.3 billion. All told, the request comprised $20.0 billion in Department of Defense (DOD), $171.4 billion in veterans affairs, and $283.8 million in other agency funding. Of the total, $76.0 billion (39.6%) would be discretionary appropriations, with the remainder considered mandatory.
Simultaneously, the President requested an emergency supplemental appropriation for FY2010 that contained $521.4 million for Army and Air Force construction in Afghanistan.
The military construction funding amounts requested by the President and recommended by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations have fallen off as building for the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) round has nearly reached completion. Funding support for military family housing construction has also declined as the military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) continue their efforts to privatize formerly government-owned accommodations.
In the area of non-medical benefits, the largest dollar increases in funding for the VA between FY2010 and FY2011 in the Administration request, the House Appropriations Committee recommendation (H.R. 5822) and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation (S. 3615) are for disability compensation and pension benefits, and readjustment benefits, where the largest component is for education benefits.
The appropriations subcommittees in both chambers reported their versions of the bill (S. 3615) on July 14, 2010. The Senate introduced S. 3615 and placed it on the Legislative Calendar (Calendar No. 469) on July 19. The House introduced H.R. 5822 on July 22 and placed it on the Union Calendar (Calendar No. 320).
Date of Report: July 28, 2010
Number of Pages: 27 Order Number: R41345 Price: $29.95
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