Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Milcon / Veterans Bill
On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2014 Miltary Construction / Veterans Affairs appropriations bill on a 23-6 vote. The bill largely matches both the House appropriation and the the Administration's request for R&D funding at both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and for R&D activities within the Department of Defense military construction account. FY 2014 VA-funded research would amount to $1.2 billion, matching the President's request and the House figures and representing a 0.9 percent increase—but 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 the House appropriation. The Committee has granted an extra $3 million for the Department's National Centers for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in part to establish a brain tissue bank for PTSD researchers. The Committee also encourages VA to adopt policies to ensure greater public access to research results, and urges creation of a subprogram to tackle Alzheimer's research.
The bill now awaits consideration on the Senate floor.