Bradley Supports Veterans Appropriations Bill

From The Office of Congressman Jeb Bradley

For Immediate Release - Friday, May 19, 2006

Contact - Stephanie DuBois, (202) 225-5456

(Washington, D.C.) - First District Congressman Jeb Bradley today voted for legislation that will fund health care programs and benefits for our nation's veterans and housing for our soldiers and their families. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5385, the fiscal year 2007 Military Quality of Life Appropriations Act, by a unanimous vote this afternoon.

"This bill maintains our commitment to those who have honorably served our country," stated Bradley, a member of the House Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees. "Ensuring that our veterans' medical needs are met is more important than ever now, given the number of men and women returning from combat overseas. I am also pleased that this bill increases funding for veterans' health care without implementing enrollment fees or increasing prescription drug co-payments, which I fought to keep out of the budget."

Highlights of the Military Quality of Life Appropriations Act include:

  • Funds veterans' medical services at $25.4 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion over last year's level and a 70 percent increase in total funding over the last six years. The bill specifies that at least $2.8 billion of this funding must be spent on mental health care.
  • Increases by $25 million funding for a minimum of 10 new community-based outpatient clinics, which provide more localized, convenient outpatient care to veterans.
  • Increases resources by $20 million over last year's level to make improvements to existing state veterans' homes.
  • Increases funding for the Defense Health Program by $1 billion, for a total of $21 billion this fiscal year.

Earlier this session, Bradley offered an amendment during Budget Committee markup to increase new discretionary budget authority for veterans' health care by $795 million in fiscal year 2007 and by $3.975 billion over the next five years. Bradley's amendment passed the Committee unanimously and was incorporated into the final House version of the budget.

Once the Senate passes its version of the bill, the two chambers must reconcile differences between their respective bills in a committee of conference before the legislation goes to President Bush for his signature.