East Hawaii News

VA Funding Bill Includes $200M for Hawai’i

May 19, 2016, 10:31 AM HST
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard. U.S. House of Representatives photo.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard. U.S. House of Representatives photo.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced on Thursday that she voted in favor of the Military Construction and Veteran Affairs funding bill for Fiscal Year 2017.

The legislation passed with a 295 to 129 vote.

Included in the bill is nearly $200 million to be used for upgrades to infrastructure and training assets in Hawai’i. Congresswoman Gabbard says the upgrades would ensure that Hawai’i remains a pivotal location during the nation’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

“Even in the toughest of budget years, we have a responsibility to provide for a robust national defense and honor our veterans who have sacrificed so greatly for our nation,” Representative Gabbard said in a statement. “Our service members and their families are already bearing the brunt of arbitrary sequester cuts—we cannot continue to slash funding for our military housing and access to critical medical services.

“This bill invests in military infrastructure projects across the country, including nearly $200 million for projects in Hawaiʻi. It also addresses the need to continue to strengthen our economy, increase access to critical mental health services and suicide prevention outreach, and support the critical role that Hawai‘i plays in the Asia-Pacific region.”

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Broken down, the Hawai’i funding includes:

  • Over $72 million for projects at Kāneʻohe Bay for a consolidated communications and electrical facility in support of modernization projects.
  • $40 million for the second phase of the state-of-the-art Command and Control Facility at Fort Shafter.
  • $31 million for a National Guard combined support maintenance shop in Hilo to support ongoing training at Pōhakuloa Training Area.
  • Over $43 million for the continued power grid consolidation at Pacific Missile Range Facility.
  • $11 million for the Air National Guard F-22 Composite Repair Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
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Also included in the bill is $663 million for medical and prosthetic research, $528 million for major VA construction projects, $4.2 billion for VA Information Technology, and $850 million for health care needs. 

H.R. 4974 also provides $66.3 billion in advance appropriations for FY 2018 for veterans’ health benefits and $103.9 billion for mandatory benefit programs.

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