WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today voted for the cloture motion on the motion to proceed to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2029). By a vote of 50-44, Senate Democrats blocked the Senate from proceeding to the bill to fund veterans’ services, military housing and family support, and hospital and military construction.
“I am disappointed that Democrats would block a historically bipartisan bill to care for our veterans, military and their families,” said Inhofe. “Under the Obama administration, our troops have been stretched thin with growing international unrest and fewer resources in order to appropriately respond. Simultaneously, our Department of Veterans Affairs, which is tasked to care for those who’ve faithfully served our nation, remains in disrepair. Our all-volunteer force deserves better than the political game Senate Democrats are playing with vital funding that would support ongoing defense operations as well as improve the medical care provided to our veterans. I urge Senate Democrats to work across the aisle to care for our men and women in uniform who have or are currently making great sacrifices to protect our freedoms.”
The Senate version of H.R. 2029 would provide a total of over $8 billion for military construction (MILCON) projects. In Oklahoma, this includes:
Fort Sill: $56 million for phase two of the reception barrack’s complex and an additional $13.4 million for a training support facility.
Altus Air Force Base: $18 million for a 120-room dormitory and $10.4 million for its KC-46A fuel cell maintenance hangar.
Tinker Air Force Base: $37 million for a KC-46 Depot Maintenance Dock and $12.9 million for a new air traffic control tower.
Will Rogers World Airport: $7.6 million for beddown of the MC-12W with the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
The Senate bill would also provide a total of $163.8 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This includes medical services for 6.9 million patients, major and minor hospital construction and maintenance to correct safety issues and deficiencies, veteran disability compensation programs for 4.7 million veterans and their survivors, education benefits for nearly 1.2 million veterans, and vocational rehabilitation and employment training for over 130,000 veterans. The VA serves 22 million veterans and 26.3 million family members of living veterans or survivors of deceased veterans.