Subcommittee moves Mark Kirk's 2016 VA appropriations bill forward
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) lauded passage of the fiscal year 2016 MilCon/VA Appropriations bill by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) on Tuesday.
The bill funds care for the nation's veterans at record levels, providing the VA with $69.2 billion for fiscal year 2016, an increase of $4.2 billion, or 6.5 percent, over 2015 levels.
It also includes major construction reforms to ensure mishaps such as the Denver Veterans Administration Hospital construction project are prevented in the future. The Denver hospital is more than $930 million over budget.
“This bill provides funding for veterans’ care at record levels, which will reform this agency and protect 700,000 Illinois veterans and veterans nationwide,” Kirk, who authored the bill with Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), said. “Included are whistleblower protections so that doctors and nurses at hospitals like the Hines VA in Maywood, Illinois, will never again fear retaliation from high-level bureaucrats. Also included are funds for new family housing at Rock Island, Illinois, and an increase in Hepatitis C treatments for veterans nationwide. With these modern, innovative medicines, in the last 16 months we have cured more veterans suffering from Hepatitis C than in the last 16 years. It is innovations like these that we need for our veterans and for all Americans.”
The full bill will be released next week.