Congressman Berry’s Statement on House Passage Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed H.R. 5822, the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2011. This bill lays out the $141 billion dollar fiscal plan for investment in projects and programs specific to the needs of our veterans and military troops and their families, including veterans’ benefits and healthcare, military family housing, barracks and mission critical facilities.

 With this funding, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be able to accomplish its mission of providing quality medical care to over 6 million veterans in 2011, including more than 439,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Some specific provisions of the bill are focused on funding for veterans’ medical care needs, including improvements of care for veterans suffering from mental health problems, expanding and modernizing rural health care facilities to provide better access for veterans living in rural areas, and grant programs and housing for low-income and homeless veterans.

 The bill also looks to address improving the living conditions of active duty military and trainees by modernizing National Guard and Reserve facilities and replacing many of the barracks.

 “The continued support of our troops, veterans and their families should be a top priority in Congress, and the passage of this bill is a reminder of the bipartisan commitment and respect we hold for those who have served our country. This bill puts our veterans first by ensuring the VA has funding for the critical staff they need so they can process disability claims more effectively and efficiently. I am also pleased to see we are working hard to make the living conditions for our troops as safe and as comfortable as possible. For those that have not served in the military, it is often hard to show our gratitude and thanks for the continued courage and selfless efforts of our men and women in uniform. Ensuring our veterans have the benefits they earned when they return home is the best thing we can do.”