Hyde-Smith supports $5B increase for VA

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee has supported committee passage of a bill that would provide record-setting levels of funding for veterans care.

The bill includes a $5 billion increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide the healthcare, benefits, and memorial services earned by U.S. service members and veterans.

“The responsibility for keeping our commitments to veterans falls on the federal government, and this bill increases funding to carry out those promises,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The VA MISSION Act signed into law by President Trump will do a great deal to improve access to health care for rural veterans but it will require vigilance to ensure we provide annual appropriations needed to implement it.”

The VA MISSION Act is a law signed by President Trump on the 74th anniversary of D-Day and consolidates seven programs into a single, streamlined Veterans Community Care Program to provide veterans with access to health care and services in their own communities.  It also expands eligibility for the VA Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to all generations of veterans seriously injured in the line of duty.

The committee-passed FY2019 MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill provides $78.3 billion overall to support VA medical treatment and healthcare for approximately 9.3 million enrolled patients in FY2019.

Hyde-Smith also supported $64.3 million for the Armed Services Retirement Home, which operates facilities in Gulfport and Washington, D.C.

Within military construction funding, the bill includes a $10 million increase requested by Hyde-Smith to support the U.S. Army’s laboratory revitalization program, which would benefit the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg.  The bill provides a total of $82.0 million to make improvements to the Army’s laboratory system.

“Work done at ERDC and other Army laboratories is necessary to ensure our soldiers have the most advanced equipment and weapons available,” Hyde-Smith said.

The  Military Appropriations Bill, which was passed unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee is now available for consideration by the full Senate.