House Passes FY 2014 Military Construction / Veterans Spending Bill
On June 4, the full House passed the FY 2014 Miltary Construction / Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (HR 2216) on a near-unanimous 421-4 vote. The bill largely meets the Administration's request for R&D funding at both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and for R&D activities counted within the Department of Defense military construction account (the remainder of Defense Department R&D is appropriated separately in the Defense bill). FY 2014 VA-funded research would amount to $1.2 billion, matching the request and representing a 0.8 percent increase—behind the rate of inflation—above FY 2012. This figure does not include additional contributions for research from other agencies or from outside government, which usually amount to more than half a billion additional dollars. The major prosthetics research account within VA would receive $585.7 million, the same as the request and again slightly behind the rate of inflation from FY 2012. The House Committee has encouraged VA to pursue R&D on "the intersection between bioengineering, neuroscience, and rehabilitation to support intelligent prostheses" while continuing research on traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other maladies afflicting the nation's veterans. The bill now awaits consideration in the Senate.