News Column

Mikulski Announces Funding Bill Honoring Commitment to America's Veterans

May 22, 2014



WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced the fiscal year 2015 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (VA) and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill honors the nation's obligation to America's veterans by investing in our veterans health care, job assistance and benefits programs.

"I believe our support for our military on the field must be matched by support for our veterans at home," Senator Mikulski said. "Our brave men and women who fought for our freedom shouldn't have to fight for a job or fight the red tape of bureaucracy for healthcare when they return home. That's why I am working hard every day in the Senate to ensure the federal government maintains its commitment to veterans. Promises made must be promises kept."

The legislation invests in our veterans after serving our country by helping them to find jobs. This funding includes $237 million for the 300 Vet Center and 80 mobile Vet Centers across the country, which helps veterans adjust to civilian life through counseling, outreach and referral services.

"Our men and women in uniform who have fought for our freedom shouldn't have to fight for a job when they get home," Senator Mikulski said. "After serving our country honorably, all veterans deserve the chance to earn a paycheck and support their families."

Senator Mikulski has been a strong advocate for veterans and military families. She led the fight for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program to help vets reintegrate into civilian lives and connect with potential employers and was a vocal proponent of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which provides veterans with job training and education while encouraging businesses to hire disabled and unemployed veterans.

This bill funds a major priority of Senator Mikulski to eliminate veterans' homelessness. It provides $1.6 billion to targeted programs in the Veterans Administration to get homeless veterans off the streets and help them get back on their feet. While only nine percent of the U.S. can claim veteran's status, nearly 12 percent of homeless persons are veterans.

This bill also makes sure we are meeting our commitment to our most recent generation of veterans, those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It contains $4.2 billion to meet the health care needs of these veterans. The VA reports that over one million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have used the VA health care system since 9/11.

The bill also includes important funding to improve current health care programs for veterans. It provides $589 million for medical and prosthetic research and $403 million for women's veteran's specific health care. It also charges the VA to integrate complementary and alternate medicine to ensure American's heroes receive the full spectrum of treatment available.

The legislation was approved by the full Committee today. In the next step of the appropriations process, the bill will move to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

Read this original document at: http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/media/pressrelease/5-22-2014-3.cfm


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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications


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