SAC Approves Milcon, VA Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its version of the Fiscal 2017 military construction and Veterans Affairs bill Thursday. The bill provides $83 billion in discretionary spending, a $3.1 billion increase over Fiscal 2016, according to a SAC release. It provides $7.93 billion for military construction projects—$241 million less than in 2016, but $486 million above what President Obama requested. The increased funding is to be used for family housing, military hospitals, health centers, and overseas facilities; however, it prohibits construction or modification of facilities to house Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States. The VA would see a 4.8 percent bump in discretionary funding over Fiscal 2016, which will be used for health care, benefit claims processing, the Board of Veterans Appeals, the VA Inspector General, medical and prosthetic research, and information technology. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he plans to bring the bill to the Senate floor next week, reported The Hill.