The House Appropriations Committee approved a $108.1 billion Military Construction-VA spending bill Thursday, but only after feuding over funding for a border wall, according to CQ.
The committee ultimately advanced the bill in a largely party line 31-21 vote.
The bill is typically a highly popular spending bill, but this year it has become enveloped in deep disputes over President Trump’s border funding moves.
Despite the feuding, the bill adds more funding to veterans programs than the White House requested, Military Times reported. The House bill increases VA funding more than 10% above fiscal 2019 levels, the latest in sizable increases for the department.
The bill includes $94.3 billion in discretionary VA funding, about $1 billion more than the White House requested in March.
It also includes $9.4 billion for mental health programs, $1.9 billion for homelessness programs, and $4.5 billion for community care expansion. Another $222 million was set aside for suicide prevention outreach activities.
About $1.6 billion is set aside in the measure for VA’s ongoing electronic medical records overhaul, designed to bring its systems into line with military records.
The bill’s nearly $10.5 billion in military construction includes $1.5 billion for family housing, including to address issues “such as mold, vermin and lead in military family housing.”
Army National Guard photo by Spc. Tori Miller