Dent: Appropriations Act includes pro-veteran legislation

Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Charlie Dent (R-PA) applauded the recent passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2016, which includes pro-veteran legislation, including programs to ensure funding for veteran disability compensation and pension programs.

The 5.2 million veterans and their survivors who depend on veteran disability compensation and pension programs will benefit from the legislation, which also allows post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to continue for more than 935,000 veterans. It also grants vocational rehabilitation and employment training for more than 137,000 veterans.

“Today the House delivered on its promise to care for our nation’s veterans, servicemembers, and military families by providing an unprecedented level of funding for veteran services and healthcare,” Dent said. “This bill will deliver a 9.8 percent increase for VA medical care, which includes a $4.7 billion increase for VA medical services in order to allow for approximately seven million veterans to receive the high quality care and treatments that they have earned through their service and sacrifices.”

The legislation increases VA funding to address disability claims and appeals backlogs, while increasing funding for disability claims processing by $173 million. It also provides the Board of Veterans Appeals with an increase of $11 million while supporting additional staff to focus on working through such claims and appeals.

“Among its highlights, this bill will make a minimum of $1.5 billion available for Hepatitis C treatments and cures within the next year; increase stipends for family caregivers of seriously injured post-9/11 veterans by more than 25 percent over the current levels; give the VA the funding it needs to help treat mental health care and reduce the prevalence of veteran suicide and homelessness; increase funding for traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatments; and move the VA closer to the establishment of an interoperable electronic health record system,” Dent said.

The bill also enhances the readiness of the military while strengthening the global defense posture of the U.S. and providing a 21 percent increase for military construction projects.

“These provisions have long enjoyed broad bipartisan support, and I am proud to have led the efforts to provide our veterans with this historic level of care,” Dent said. “I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of our veterans and our men and women in uniform in Pennsylvania and around the world.”

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