US Senate panel OKs military appropriations bill
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate Committee on Appropriations recently approved the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019, which provides critical support for military infrastructure and veterans’ healthcare.
As a senior member on the Appropriations Committee, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) worked to secure investments for addressing military construction and veteran issues in U.S. territories and freely associated states.
Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has jurisdiction over U.S. territories and Freely Associated States.
“I have been able to see firsthand key military construction issues in our U.S. territories and pleased to see a focus on addressing those through this funding bill, such as critically important enlisted housing,” said Murkowski. “Also, I’m proud that through this bill we focus on access for our veterans who live [on] these islands, who serve at considerable numbers where access to VA healthcare has been limited.”
The bill includes the following provisions:
Guam military construction
• $9.8 million for Air Force munitions storage
• $36.1 million for unaccompanied enlisted housing
• $27.9 million for gym and dining facility
• $52.3 million for Navy explosive ordnance storage
• $50 million to begin the construction of a machine gun range
• $22 million for ordnance operations building
• $83.4 million to replace the Anderson Family Housing Phase III
• Murkowski secured report language directing the Government Accountability Office to assess whether service to veterans in various Pacific U.S. territories and Freely Associated States could be more appropriately provided for by foreign medical facilities than VA facilities in Hawaii and Guam.
• Murkowski also secured report language aimed to improve care by requiring the VA to provide Congress with a strategy for addressing the needs of veterans residing in outlying areas and leverage the capabilities of both federal and non-federal partners in the territories.
Murkowski is a member of the Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, and chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (PR)