Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 7:21 am | Fog/Mist 54º


Funding Bill Includes $13 Million for Vandenberg Air Force Base

The money, part of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, will go toward a new child development center

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday voted for a key funding bill that supports troops and honors veterans by funding critical veterans’ health services and the construction of key facilities for training and housing the military.

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, House Resolution 3082, passed by a 415-3 vote.

The measure includes $13 million for Vandenberg Air Force Base for the construction of a new child development center. The 23,900-square-foot facility will allow Vandenberg to increase the enrollment capacity for all age groups to 192 children. The current center is undersized and out of date.

“I am particularly pleased that we are making this important investment to support our military families at Vandenberg Air Force Base,” Capps said. “These brave men and women sacrifice so much for us, I’m pleased that we can honor that sacrifice by providing a safe, reliable, and nurturing environment for their children. I will work to ensure this funding is included in the final legislation signed by the president.”

The legislation will strengthen quality health care for more than 6 million patients — including 419,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also provides advance funds for veterans health services in 2011, so that funding for veterans’ health care is timely, reliable and never held hostage by political maneuvering.

“Particularly in these difficult economic times, we need to ensure that our veterans continue to have easy access to high quality medical care and health services,” Capps said. “These investments in health technology will improve the quality of care our veterans receive, cutting red tape, reducing medical errors and saving taxpayer dollars.”

The legislation includes improvements in electronic health records and paperless benefits processing to make veterans health care more efficient, additional oversight and auditing of the veterans health care system, and new practices to improve access to care for veterans in rural areas. The bill also invests in mental health services and critical medical and prosthetic research to serve wounded warriors returning from battle. 

The bill also provides funding to construct key facilities for training and housing, addressing the unfunded backlog of barracks for the young men and women entering the service. It also includes funding for the guard and reserve initiative, to recognize the critical contribution made by reserve personnel and address urgent unfunded requirements. It takes additional steps to support military families — with military child care centers, military family housing, and additional Vets Centers to provide community-based readjustment counseling for veterans and their families.

The Senate is expected to consider the legislation in the coming weeks.

— Emily Kryder is a communications director for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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