Senate officials approve 2022 veterans spending bill
the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY2022 spending bill for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs and related agencies (MilCon-VA) by a 25-5 vote on Aug.4. The bill included $ 882 million for the VA’s medical and prosthetic research program – an increase of $ 67 million (8.2%) from fiscal 2021, which matches the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2022, but is below the House adopted level of $ 904 million.
When considering the bill on August 4, MilCon-VA subcommittee chairman Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) noted “the revolutionary investment in VA health care and research.” Ranker John Boozman (R-Ark.) Also highlighted the increased investment in research during his opening statement and noted that the bill had been developed in a bipartisan and collegial manner.
. The bill passed by the House included a total of $ 904 million for VA research following the passage of an amendment to provide $ 2 million in additional funding for the research program. [refer to Washington Highlights, July 30]. The Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research, a coalition of nearly 100 member groups organized by the AAMC, recommended $ 902 million for the VA research program during fiscal year 2022, as well as investments in physical and computing technologies to support the VA research program.
Senate Bill MilCon-VA matches President’s Budget Request and House-approved spending bill on behalf of Veterans Health Administration’s Medical Community Care, with a total of $ 23.4 billion for fiscal year 2022 – an increase of $ 4.9 billion (26.5%) over fiscal year 2021 – as well as $ 24.2 billion in credits advanced for fiscal year 2023.
For medical services, the Senate MilCon-VA bill for fiscal 2022 again matches the president’s request with a total of $ 58.9 billion for fiscal 2022 – an increase of $ 2.3 billion (4%) over FY2021 – as well as $ 70.3 billion in appropriations advanced for FY2023. The House bill differs with the inclusion of an additional $ 100 million for fiscal year 2022.
The Senate bill maintains language requiring the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to specifically approve in writing any research that would use dogs, cats or non-human primates.
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Commented more widely on the appropriation process, noting that bills passed by the committee would not be approved in the Senate without additional efforts on front-line funding.
“Our concerns about the way forward are real. … With an agreement on the highest spending levels; parity between the rates of increase in military and non-military spending; assurance that defense spending will not be abandoned; and a commitment to avoiding partisan barriers, I’m confident we can continue to work together, ”Shelby said.
McConnell added: “We need to agree on what the forest will look like before Senators are asked to start planting trees.”
Senate Speaker Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Agreed lawmakers should enter bipartisan discussions on the highest spending levels, but did not offer a timeline for the way forward.
The MilCon-VA bill was approved along with two other spending bills for fiscal year 2022, for a total of three passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee as of August 4. The House of Representatives passed nine of its 12 spending bills with less than two months remaining. before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.