Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted in favor of H.R. 4486, the Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill. The annual funding bill, which funds the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), included an increase of $1.5 billion for veterans programs in FY15.
“This bill includes the necessary funding that our veterans have earned through their service and commitment to protecting our freedoms,” said Congressman Simpson. “The bill fulfills our moral and legal obligations to our veterans and also focuses heavily on fixing the unacceptable backlog of disability claims. It puts our priorities where they should be—providing essential medical care to veterans.”
H.R. 4486 continues efforts to end the disability claim backlog and increase efficiency by providing funding for digital scanning of health records and requiring timely and accurate data exchange between the VA and the Department of Defense.
Though the bill significantly boosts veterans programs, it acknowledges fiscal realities by reducing discretionary funding by $1.8 billion without impacting troops or veterans projects or services.
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 416 to 1.