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Senate Passes Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill

Includes $23 million construction project for new dormitory at Ellsworth, prevents funding to close GTMO

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of its first appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, H.R. 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (MilCon/VA). It passed 93-0.

“I am pleased that the Senate is finally doing its job to pass appropriations bills, especially the Military Construction/VA bill to support our veterans, service members and their families,” said Rounds. “We have a duty to take care of our men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, during and after their service. This bipartisan appropriations bill recognizes the needs of a changing veteran population by providing specific funding for health care for female veterans, care for Iraq and Afghanistan vets and treatment for traumatic brain injury.  It also includes specific funding provisions for construction and renovation of VA facilities and prevents the Department of Defense from using funds to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Defense Department construction portion of the bill includes a project at our own Ellsworth Air Force Base.”

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is one of 12 appropriations bills that are needed to fund the government in FY 2016. It passed out of committee earlier this year by a bipartisan majority vote of 21-9. In October, Senate Democrats blocked this bill from being openly debated and amended on the Senate floor.  The bill includes $23 million to construct a new dormitory at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City.