Washington, D.C. –- (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), the Ranking Democrat on the House Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MCVA) Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after passage in the full Appropriations Committee of the subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations bill:

“The $88.8 billion Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which passed out of Full Committee today, funds crucial programs to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve and need, and helps make certain that many of our military’s infrastructure needs are addressed including the NATO Security Investment Program.

This bill funds services vital to combat veterans’ homelessness and suicide and provides our veterans with high quality and timely health care. It also improves the veterans’ benefits claims process, and supports research on the most effective treatments for our veterans as they return home after serving our nation valiantly. The MilCon VA bill includes essential funds for In Vitro Fertilization and coverage for assisted reproductive technologies for veterans who have sustained a service connected injury that impacts their fertility, while also ensuring women veterans in their 40s are not denied coverage for mammograms.

Additionally, during today’s markup, I offered an amendment, which was unanimously accepted, which lifts the hiring freeze for hiring badly needed counselors at the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans are committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day and we must cast away obstacles in the path of getting veterans in crisis the help they need.

However, I’m disappointed that this collaborative spirit has not extended to the fuller appropriations process, and this measure passed without knowing the allocations for the remaining eleven appropriations bills. With no resolution on the Budget Control Act caps, coupled with the disgraceful Trump budget proposal, increases in this bill could impact critical programs throughout the federal government. Under the conditions of this non-transparent and flawed process, we are completely left in the dark.

Nonetheless, this bill demonstrates our commitment to our veterans and our obligation to provide for those who have already sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and way of life, and those servicemembers who endure tremendous hardships to serve that mission today. I look forward to taking this bill to the House Floor and continuing to work collaboratively with Chairman Dent (R-PA), whose partnership and insights I have greatly valued throughout the appropriations process.”


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