House Appropriations Committee approves Guam provisions
Tag: GAO, Guam, House Appropriators, military
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo announced that the House Committee on Appropriations approved the fiscal year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill by voice vote. The bill and accompanying report include provisions supported by Congresswoman Bordallo to continue progress on the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam and address concerns of local veterans with health care they receive on islands.
Bordallo worked with House appropriators to include report language that directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the staffing, outreach, scheduling and access management practices at the VA’s Pacific Islands Healthcare System, which has jurisdiction over Guam. This addresses concerns raised by local veterans and Senator Frank Aguon Jr. over the quality of care veterans on Guam receive, and the Committee directs the GAO to report their findings within six months of the bill’s enactment into law.
Further, the bill appropriates the entire President’s Budget of $248,685,000 for military construction on Guam. The projects requested in the FY17 budget support the buildup as well as on-going operations which includes the hardening of select military facilities. A complete table of military construction projects is below.
“I continue to work diligently with my colleagues to continue progress on the realignment of Marines to Guam and address concerns that have been raised by our veteran community regarding health care they receive on Guam. I am pleased that House appropriators have directed the GAO to study quality of care and staffing levels within the VA’s Pacific Islands Healthcare System. This is in direct response to challenges experienced by Guam’s local veterans, and I believe that this will provide much needed insight as we continue to address these issues. I appreciate the partnership of Senator Frank Aguon, as well as leaders in our veterans’ community, who continue to work collaboratively with me to ensure that our veterans receive the care they deserve.
I am also pleased that House Appropriators have supported President Obama’s budget request and fully funded $248 million in military construction projects for Guam. This continues to demonstrate our commitment to the rebalance strategy and the role that Guam plays in this process. Further, it contains funding that continues the progress we are making in moving the realignment forward. I also appreciate that the Committee funds critical projects at Andersen to continue to make it a viable forward operating platform to defend Guam, our homeland, and our allies in the region. I will continue to advocate for these provisions and ensure that they are enacted into law.”
The committee directs GAO to review the staffing, outreach, scheduling, and access management practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Healthcare System and report to the Committee not later than six months after enactment of this Act. The report should include comparisons between the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System and VA healthcare in the continental U.S. on the following measures: healthcare quality; patient waiting times; follow up care appointment delays; community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) staffing levels and retention; staff working environment; and outreach programs.