Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the Appropriations Committee passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2017. With $81.6 billion in total discretionary spending, this legislation provides funding for new and ongoing military infrastructure projects and provides funding for programs, assistance and benefits for our nation’s veterans.
Of particular importance to Oklahoma, the legislation includes $76.6 million in funding for military construction in the state, including $65 million for those located in the Fourth District. Specifically, $22 million is included for the National Guard Readiness Center in Ardmore. At Tinker Air Force Base, $17 million is included for the KC-46A tanker depot system integration laboratory and $26 million for the E-3G mission and flight simulator training facility. Altus Air Force Base will receive $11.6 million for the second phase of the construction for the KC-46A Tanker simulator training facility.
In response to mismanagement and wasteful spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the legislation helps ensure veterans get the care they were promised. The bill also recommends funds for greater VA oversight and accountability and includes $260 million for modernization of the health records system.
“I am proud that the Appropriations Committee is wasting no time in considering legislation to fund the vital tools and resources for our active-duty service members, veterans and their families,” said Cole. “The legislation advanced out of committee reflects the bipartisan commitment to providing first-rate tools, resources and care to our brave individuals from the moment they commit to serve onward, including funding to implement solutions that ensure our veterans receive care in a timely manner. I am particularly pleased that the legislation invests in the military installations located across the state of Oklahoma.”
The legislation approved by the committee included an amendment, offered by Chairman Hal Rogers, that allows the Obama Administration to confront Zika by using unexpended funds already appropriated for Ebola.