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Veterans Affairs Research Moving Through Appropriations

BILL: FY 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
H.R. 2029
House Status: Passed April 30 (Vote: 255-163) | Senate Status: Not Yet Introduced

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Over the last two weeks, the House's FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies appropriations bill passed committee and was approved by the full chamber on a 255-163 vote, becoming the first FY 2016 appropriations bill to move through either chamber this year. VA funds research on a variety of health issues relevant to veterans' well-being, including in mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, prosthetics, brain and spinal injury, and other areas.

During the Appropriations Committee markup on April 22, Rep. David Price (D-NC) offered a successful amendment to add $15 million for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical and prosthetics research, bringing total VA R&D on par with the President’s FY 2016 request of $1.2 billion, according to current AAAS estimates. The Appropriations Committee encouraged the VA to explore advanced prosthetic research "at the intersection of bioengineering, neuroscience, and rehabilitation," to expand its research portfolio addressing respiratory disease among veterans, to develop user-oriented assistive technology, and to pursue research in colorectal cancer.

The bill (H.R. 2029) must still pass the Senate, but Congress usually makes only minor, if any, adjustments to the VA research budget request, which has remained above $1 billion for the past six years.