tv Queen Elizabeth Delivers Speech at State Opening of Parliament CSPAN May 18, 2016 9:49pm-11:33pm EDT
me, but you know where i am on your issues. i said no, this is where you are on my issues, your vote is where you are on my issues. this is where your children and where history will remember your standing on our issues. you have the opportunity here and now to strike this anti-gay language and in doing so strike a blow for equality. we are are going to make america great, you cannot make america great. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is no longer recognized. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to the motion. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. thornberry: mr. speaker, i want to start by thanking the 63 members of the armed services committee, not only for all of their work in putting this bill together but for the seriousness with which they take our duties under the constitution to help provide for the common defense. our members don't always agree, but we're able to work our way through our differences most of the time and think about the larger cause. you might say we sacrifice some of our individual differences or preferences in order to support the men and women who sacrifice so much for us. and i want to thank all the members of the house. we've had a lot of members over the last two days who have come down to the floor and talked about their amendments. who have -- and all of those
amendments have helped make this bill a better bill. and that's the way that for 54 straight years congresses of majorities of both parties and presidents of both parties have defense bill, a last year was a little iffy but it's happened. there's a lot of uncertainty out there some of that uncertainty is because of president obama. part of that is because of us. of us. part of the uncertainty is because of the political campaign. part of the uncertainty is because of the turmoil in the world. and my suggestion to you is that with all this uncertainty going on out there, it is particularly important this year that we send a message to friends and adversaries, the united states is willing to stand up and defend ourselves.
and it's even more important, i would suggest that we send a message to our troops that whatever uncertainty is out there, we're going to support hem. mr. speaker, to support our troops, we have to vote yes and pass this bill. now, i realize that if one wants to oppose this bill, there's lots of reasons to do that. the bill takes the same budget approach as speaker pelosi --
pelosi and majority leader harry reid used in 2008, the last time we had a change of administration. the bill includes a provision that reaffirms the protections of the 1964 civil rights act and the 1990 americans with disabilities act and i really hope if anybody has a question about that, read the amendment. i've got it here. please road this provision and so you can judge for yourself. but before any member votes no, i hope they asked ask themselves whether they really want to send a message to our troops that yeah, that member would be supportive of the troops if only , or i really support the troops but for, or i would really support the troops maybe when. i don't think that's the right way to go. let me just finish with a fact and a story. one fact is today of the 271
strike aircraft across the marine corps, 46 are available for flight operations. 46 out of 271 are available today. but let me make it personal for just a second. 've encountered two marines -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will proceed. mr. thornberry: over the past week i've encountered two marines. on sunday i was privileged to attend a commissioning of a young man who is just entering the marine corps he hopes to be a navy -- a marine aviator. he is full of promise and enthusiasm. earlier in the week, i learned that an experienced marine aviator has decided to leave the marine corps because he doesn't think the aircraft he is flying
are safe and he's got two young kids at home. now earlier in the debate, the ranking member said my philosophy in this bill was help the troops now and worry about other problems later. well there's some truth in that. i want to help the troops now. i worry about aviators who don't think their aircraft are safe now. i can't solve budget problems in the future. who will be elected president, i don't know what problems the world is going to face. i can do something now and hat's to vote for this bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit. the question is on the motion to recommit. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. the gentleman from south carolina. >> i request a roll call vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having
risen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. pursuant to clause 9 of rule 20, the chair will reduce to phi minutes the time for any vote on passage. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 181 and the nays are 243, the motion is not adopted. the question is on passage of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it -- for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> i request a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those in favor will rise. a recorded vote is ordered.
members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 277 and the nays are 147. the bill is passed. the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent that the clerk be authorized to make technical corrections in the engrossment of h.r. 4049 including cross referencing, conforming amendments to the table of kepts and short titles and the insertion of appropriate headings
eet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. dent: i ask unanimous consent that all members five five legislative material to include h.r. 4974 and tabular material on the same. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pursuant to house resolution 736 and rule 18, the chair declares in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of h.r. 4974. the chair appoints the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, to preside over the committee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the
committee of the whole house for consideration of h.r. 4974 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for military construction, the department of veterans affairs for related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 0, 2017 and for other purposes. the chair: the bill is considered read for the first time the gentleman from pennsylvania and mr. bishop, the chair will recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania in just a moment. the house will come to order. the committee will come to order. the committee will come to order. please take all conversations off the back row, off the aisles and out of the well. the committee will come to order.
the chair now recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. dent: it's my honor and privilege to bring h.r. 4974, fiscal year 2017 military construction, veterans affairs -- the speaker pro tpore: the committee will come to order. please remove conversations from the floor. both idse, please remove onversations from the floor. the gentleman from pennsylvania will continue. mr. dent: i'm bringing to the floor h.r. 4974, military construction, v.a. affairs and related agencies appropriations bill to the house for
consideration. i present this bill along side my very good friend and ranking member of the subcommittee, the gentleman from georgia, mr. bishop, who has been an essential partner along the way. i appreciate the participation and support our committee membs on both sides of the aisle as we consider priorities in funding levels for the important progrs in our bill. we analyze the budget request, held oversight hearings to get feedback of all the services, the department of defense leadership, secrery of the v.a. and v.a. inspector general. we received over 1,000 requests from members. again, from both sides of the aisle and we gave them full and fair consideratn. the bill is a product of listening to the concerns of our veterans, veteran advocates, service members, spouses, caregivers and health care provids in and outside the
v.a. over the past year. as we consider this bill, i can't proceed further without noting this committee has chairman. the chair your attention and oversight and genuine care for the military and veterans has been inspiring and we have some great support from our professional staff, tracy and , sarah, matt on the committee staff and sean and drew and heather on my personal staff. i would like to note michael, michael with mr. bishop's office. we couldn't do it without them. i would like to note the retirement of our senior member of our subcommittee, sam farr. he has been on the subcommittee since 1999. and we went into detail about
sam's accomplishments including being the architect of the monterey model which is successful of public-private partnership. sam, wherever you may be, your commitment, passion and good humor will be missed and all the best to you in your impending retirement. h.r. 4974 demonstrates our firm commitment to supporting our nation's veterans and service members. ur investment of $81.6 billion as $1.2 billion over last year's level is unprecedented. the bill addresses issues to help veterans in every part of the country, every congressional district and our troopts around the world. this bill provides support for service members, military families and veterans and supports our troops and facilities necessary to maintain readiness and morale at bases
here in the states and overseas. it provides for schools and health clinics that take care of our military families and funds our health care system to ensure that our promise to care for those who care for those continue as those men and women return home. we owe this to our veterans and committed to oversights so programs deliver what they promise and taxpayers are well served by the investments we make. . the bill provides $7.9 million or housing, base operations, oco funding, an increase over the president's request. this funding meets d.o.d.'s most critical needs including priority projects for combatant commanders and funding new mission requirements. it provides $304 million for
military medical facilities. it provides $246 million for department of defense educational facilities, for construction or renovation of schools. it support ours guard and reserve through $673 million for facilities in 21 states. it includes $514 million for projects from the department of defense's unfunded priority list, benefiting the most critical projects as identified by the services not included in the budget request. it fully funds military family housing at $1.3 billion. it provides $173 million for nato security investment program which is $43 million other last year's level to deal with increasing threats and necessary investments overseas. on veterans affairs, this legislation includes a total of $176 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding for
department of veterans' affairs. discretionary funding aloan for veterans programs in the bill was $73.5 billion. total fiscal year 2017 is $2 billion above fiscal year 016 1.-- s a % increase and and $1.5 billion below the budget request. within that total, v.a. medical care is proid provided with $64 billion a 5% increase over last year. again a 5% increase over last year for v.a. medical care. again, on medical services, v.a. medical services, the bill funds v.a. medical services at $52.5 billion, that includes $850 million that v.a. came back and asked for this year on top of the advance funding provided last year. many members expressed concerns about medical services and we were able to fully fund the budget request for hepatitis c
at $1.5 billion, we're bying for treatments for so many veterans who are being cured from this horrible disease, drugs are expensive they come down in price and that's helped us serve more veterans. veterans homelessness at $1. billion. caregiver stipends at $725 million. office of the inspector general is at $160 million. for disability claims, we provide the full request for veterans benefits administration a $118 million increase over fiscal year 2016 and the full budget request for the board of veterans apees a $46 million increase. the bill will enhance transparency and accountability at the v.a. to further -- through further oversight and increase for the v.a. office of inspector general. the inspector general's independent audits an investigations. legislation also contains $260 million for the modernization of the v.a. electronic health
record and includes restricting all the funding until the v.a. meets milestones and certifies interoperability to meet statutory requirements. major construction. we continue to focus on major construction oversight. the bill includes ladgewadge that will hold back 100% of the funding for the largest construction projects until v.a. contracts for outside federal management and we maintain strict restrictions on transfers, use of savings and scope change. the bill provides $5 8 million for major construction projects in reno, nevada, long beach, california, as well as cemeteries in florida, new york and colorado. we include bill language regarding improved standards for the suicide hotline and certification of mental health therapists to expand access for veterans who need their care and i don't need to explain to anybody in this body this great need here to help with the mental health needs of so many
of our veterans. v.a. performance awards, the bill prohibits all performance awards for v.a. senior executives. this was in response to multiple member requests to restrict bonuses of various types at the v.a. i understand this is controversial. but given the horrendous mismanagement we have seen at the v.a. facilities across the country, many of the v.a. facilities, we were compelled to send a strong message about accountability, the prohibition we included has passed as a floor amendment several years in a row so that's why it's included in the base bill this year. and i'll tell you that we have obviously very many great, wonderful employees at the v.a. who are doing their best every day to provide for our veterans through benefits, the health system, educational needs. i want to make sure we make that point but there is need for some accountability. that's why we had to insert this particular provision. we had received some unfounded
critismcism for the actions we had taken. the administration may not be happy with any change to its budget proposal. but this bill provides generous funding that is years to the -- that adhere's to the law and our responsibility to practice fiscal responsibility. overall work this bill and the funds provided in advance last year, for fiscal year 2017 the v.a. will have available 98% of what it asked for. 98% of what they asked for, provided. i wager that there won't be another department in that enviable position. this shows that the level of commitment we have to our veterans and their families, so i think that should be noted. so despite any criticism we should all be proud of this bill and what we've done in it. let me tell you i can say with absolute certainty, the v.a.'s problems stem from poor management and not too little money. we continue to push for better management and the secretary has replaced motion of the senior managers at headquarters and in
the field. many v.a. employees, as i mentioned earlier, are deeply committed, so many, overwhelmingly, they're committed to at the veterans, they're talent and work hard. i have met these folks, i appreciate them very much. i visit with them in eastern pennsylvania on a regular basis and in south central pennsylvania. but the corrosive culture that's been cited at the v.a. emains the root of the v.a.'s problems. i want to briefly discuss the thece act or as we call it, vaca. i fully support the choice act and want veterans to have access to quality health care at a convenient location for them. veterans want to be served in the communities where they live, it's better for the veteran, better for think the family and we want to make sure our veterans have access to some of the finest health care systems in the world that may not be
part of the veteran health care system. the choice act was so popular that it brought a lot of demand for v.a., they've been spending choice act fund and discretionary funds to meet the demand. the choice act expires at the end of fiscal year 2017 and its funding is being depleted sooner than that. some of the choice programs are already out of money, others will be out of money halfway through the year. for example, the choice act hires method call professionals to cut the backlog of appointments runs of o-- runs out of funds to pay those people halfway through the year. we -- and when i say we, that's discretionary appropriations are picking up a $600 million tab to pay them through the end of fiscal year 2017. it's the right thing to do, but it's not something we had planned for. there will be unprecedented and massive demands on the discretionary side to continue programs started with a $15
billion surge of emergency funding a few years ago. that's a huge issue for 2018, for fiscal year 2018. right now it's incumbent on congress to reform v.a. health care with a responsible plan that meets the needs of veterans in a sustainable manner. i hope we take that matter seriously. it's a huge issue next year and already a huge issue this year. with respect to the related agencies, the battle commission, arlington national cemetery, and the u.s. court of appeals for veterans at the requested levels which total $241 million. so in closing, this is a very solid, bipartisan bill that is focused on the needs of service members, veterans, and most especially all their families. we are $1.8 billion over the fiscal year 2016 level.
more than a % increase. we provided for our military and veterans the very best level we can in a manner that's fiscally responsible, consistent with the budget agreement we enacted into law last year. did we fund every last dime requested? no. not every idea has merit and not every project is mission critical. we did not fund some projects, we cut some requested increases and we rescinded funds. these were fair decisions and part of our responsibility as appropriators. we'll do a lot of good with this bill. it's fair, it's balanced, it's generous, and on behalf of our service members, military families, and veterans, i urge support for this legislation. let's take care of those who have sacrificed for our country and again, i'd like to thank everybody for their help and support along the way for this bill, members and staff. at this time i'd like to reserve he balance of my time.
gentleman is recognized. >> i'd like to begin by thanking mr. rogers, distinguished ranking member of the full committee and of course chairman dent, my colleague on the milcon v.a. subcommittee. couldn't have a better, more collaborative partner in support of our military and our veterans and i really appreciate the collegiality. mr. bishop: certainly i want to thank our staff, the minority staff, i'd like to thank matt washington, mike reid and mike cal fwmbings agney from my personal office. on the majority staff, maureen, sara, sean from chairman dent's office. as you all know, this bill has a strong history and before i
begin i want to also share the comments and the accolades and salutations for our colleague, sam farr, who is retiring from the committee, and this of course will be his last milcon v.a. bill. he has been a long-standing mber of this committee, very insightful, compassionate, pragmatic. we're certainly going to miss sam with his valuable, valuable contributions. i'd like to point out that this bill has a strong history of finding common ground and bipartisan support across the aisle to provide resources for our men and women in uniform who have chosen to serve and to protect our great nation's way of life and our individual freedoms. with this bill, we fund military construction projects in the
department of veterans' affairs for the benefit of our soldiers, sailors, air force, marines both past and present. for those who have given so much of themselves, we owe a great deal. let me start our consideration of the military construction and veterans affairs appropriations bill by recognizing those in our military who cannot be with us here tonight as they serve across the globe. hank you for your service. the account taking care of facilities is provided $7.7 billion, an increase over the 2015 budget request. overall the department of veterans' affairs is funned at $73.5 billion which is $2.5 billion above the f.y. 2016 enacted level and $1.4 billion below the f.y. 2017 request. i'm pleased with several aspects of the bill. as we saw throughout the markup
process, the bill provides probust funding for military construction and provides adequate funding for both active and reserve military forces. i was pleased that the bill provides $25 million above the f.y. 2017 budget request to help speed up the cleanup of former department of defense sites. for too long we have been waiting for an end to the tunnel for the electronic health records integration between the department of defense and the v.a. to strengthen oversight on the issue, i'm pleased to see the bill maintains tough but fair reporting requirements for electronic health records. to better serve those veterans shortchanged for too long, the bill continues to prioritize the elimination of v.a.'s claims backlog and includes healthy funding for the board of veterans appeals. though i'm concerned with the proposed reforms to the d.v.a. nonetheless, i believe these are
positive steps that are necessary to ensure that the v.a. continues to improve its service for our veterans. mile the milcon v.a. bill has many positive attributes, one item i'm not particularly pleased about is the inclusion of bill language that limits erformance awards. this language this may have long-term consequences compounding the very problem it attempts to address. all this language will do is make the v.a. a less attractive option that other agencies when it comes to recruiting and obtaining executive leaders and not having the talent it needs to solve the problems it faces today. this is an issue that must be addressed as we move through this process.
turning away from the bill, our committee was off to a very fast start. however, because of the budget resolution impasse, we have had to wait a month for the bill to be able to come to the floor. as a result, we will not be able to get back to regular order this year and with roughly 45 days left in the legislative calendar, it will be impossible to fulfill our obligation to the american people and pass all 12 bills through the house. we are in this situation because an unchecked small minority of the house wants to revisit issues that were already decided and acted upon by a bipartisan majority of both houses and signed into law by the president. that being said, i applaud chairman rogers for honoring the allocation, the bipartisan
budget agreement set for fiscal year 2017. we will have to get past these unrealistic beliefs that we can cut our way to prosperity. as we are all aware of our level of discretionary resources this year, it will be tough, especially tough for this subcommittee because our bill advances funds to the medical services account. while we start out in the hole every year, the v.a.'s second bite of the apple makes balancing the need with other federal agencies that much more difficult. enough said numerous times, we must be more strategic about how we handle our federal budget. mr. speaker, mr. chairman, what i have done some things differently? of course. here we are. nevertheless with reservations. i urge my colleagues to defeat
any amendments and move to support this bill and strive to improve the quality of life and the care afforded to current service members, to our veterans and to our military families. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. dent dent i yield to the distinguished chairman of the full committee, mr. rogers. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: thank you for yielding the time, mr. chairman. i rise tonight to support this first bill of the 2017 appropriation port charlotte cycle. sheparding through appropriations legislation is the constitutional duty of the congress and so here we go. passage of these bills in a timely fashion is in the best
interest of the nation. it will help provide for our national security, the stability of our economy and give certainty to all americans who count on the federal government's programs and services. i believe this bill, in particular, starts off this process on the right foot. h.r. 4974 is a balanced, bipartisan piece of legislation that provides critical funding for our troops, their families and their veterans. we made a commitment to our servicemen and women that we will care for them during and after their service and this bill helps fulfill that promise. in total, as you heard, the bill provides $81.6 billion in discretionary funding for the department of defense infrastructure and quality of life programs as well as for the department of veterans affairs.
this represents an increase above current levels. this increase is directed to veterans affairs' programs which receives a 3% bump above 2016 levels. out of the total of $73.5 billion for the department of funding ffairs, 25.3 will treat seven million patients this year, in particular, i want to highlight funding increases that will address mental health care, suicide prevention and homelessness. the increase will help the v.a. tackle some of its greatest challenges, reducing the disabilities backlog and continuing the modernization of the electronic health records system to ensure no gaps in care
occur as our current troops become veterans. the bill provides funding to support our active duty military and their families, funding for hospitals, education alpha silts, housing, tells our service members that they have the full backing of their government as they lay their lives on the lines for this nation. the quality of life programs, military construction funding is prioritize to respond to threats including russia, middle east, north africa. while overall funding is increased in the bill, the committee took many steps to make sure every step of taxpayers' money is spent responsibly and with good purpose. we made difficult decisions to find savings wherever possible. the bill includes good government provisions that increase oversight for the v.a.
helping to stop waste and improve service for our veterans. mr. chairman, this is a very good bill. one i'm proud to support. i want to thank the chairman of the subcommittee, congressman dent, for his leadership and the ranking member, mr. bishop, the rest of the subcommittee for their team work and their effort in bringing the bill to the floor today. lastly, i join the chair and ranking member in thanking the staff for the many hours they put into usher this bill to the floor today. caring for our troops and veterans is a great responsibility and the subcommittee and our staff have not taken that responsibility lightly. i urge my colleagues to support this bill. it's balanced, it's responsible and needs to be passed. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
mr. dent: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from georgia is now recognized. mr. bishop: i'm delighted to yield five minutes to the the gentlewoman from new york, distinguished ranking member of the committee on appropriations, mrs. lowey. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. lowey: and i would like to thank the distinguished ranking , mr. of this committee bishop. and i would like to thank my good friend on the other side of the aisle, chairman dent from neighboring state of new jersey for your good work and the partnership that you have made to make this an excellent bill and i also want to thank chairman rogers for his leadership and the hard work of the committee members on both sides of the aisle who are so critical to this process.
thank you. the fiscal year 2017 military construction-veterans affairs bill would allocate $81.6 billion in discretionary funding, $1.2 billion less than the fiscal year 2017 budget request and a $1.8 billion increase above the fiscal year 2016 enacted levels and allow for several critical improvements, including further reduction of the veterans' claims' backlog that has dropped to 74,000. $7.8 billion to support outreach o reduce unseptemberbly mental health challenges. greater focus on the gender-specific needs of female
veterans for prosthetics and enhancing medical health services. $32 medical for prosthetic research, $1.3 billion for family housing construction and strong oversight of the electric tron health records system requiring that the v.a. needs o benchmarks and improve interoperability with the department of defense. mr. speaker, i want to congratulate chairman dent, ranking member bishop for your truly outstanding effort in making this a good bipartisan bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i would like to recognize the distinguished the entleman from arkansas for two
minutes. the chair: the gentleman is ecognized for two minutes. mr. hill: i rise in support of the bill. over the past few years we have seen mismanagement, cost over runs and project delays at our veterans affairs facilities across our country. while the construction failures have gathered the headlines such as the billion cost overrun in colorado, the v.a. has the knack for dropping the ball on smaller projects as well. one of these is a solar panel project at the v.a. medical center in little rock. it has been three years and engineering changes and make way for a new parking garage which was known in advance of the
award has caused valuable taxpayer resources. last year, i sent a letter along with the senator boozman calling for an investigation into this solar panel project which resulted in the v.a. inspector general conducting a review of all the solar panel projects across the v.a. while this resue is being finalized, many questions remain unanswered about these solar projects. they list 34 key renewable energy projects dating back to 2010 that remain nonoperational. today's bill contains an important provision in the report language that will rotect the taxpayer dollars by prohibitting solar projects due to concerns about the mismanagement in these projects. i'm pleased they have included
this essential language as we await the results of the investigation in these costly projects. this is an important part of the re-evaluation of the v.a.'s construction and oversight that congress has developed and taxpayers deserve. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. bishop: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: can i inquire if the gentleman on the other side has any more speakers? mr. bishop: no more speakers.
the chair: the gentleman from eorgia ready to close? the gentleman is recognized to close. mr. bishop: with reservations, i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i think it's a bipartisan bill, it's a good bill. i think it's a good product for what we had to work with. and i would like to urge my colleagues to improve the quality of life and the care we give to our military, to our veterans and to our military families. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from georgia yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. dent: i want to thank e again for their full cooperation on both sides of the aisle, mr.
bishop, mrs. lowey and mr. rogers on our side and all the members of the subcommittee on both sides. again thank you. this bill does provide for our veterans, our service members and their families and it's a very good bill and i urge adoption and i yield back. the chair: all time and during consideration of the bill for amendment, each amendment shall be debatable for 10 minutes equally between. no pro form ave amendment and or their respective designees may offer up to 108 pro forma amendments for the purposes of debate. the chair at any point for the purposes of debate, the chair of the committee of the whole may accord priority on the basis of whether the member has caused it to be printed in the congressional record designated for that purpose. amendments so printed shall be
considered read. he clerk will read. the clerk: the following sums are appropriated, department of veterans' affairs and related agencies for 2017, family title 1, department of defense litary construction, army, $503,459,000 to remain available ntil september 30, 2021. military construction, navy and marine corps, $1,021,582,000, remain available until september 30, 2021. military construction, air force, $1,398,758,000 to remain available until september 30, 021. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from missouri seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk.
the chair: the gentlelady will suspend. the clerk will continue to read. he clerk will pause. the clerk will continue to read. the clerk: military condition instruction, defense wide, including transfer of funds $2,024,634,000 to remain available until 20 1. >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from missouri seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will kezzig nate the amendment. -- designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. wagner of missouri, page 4,
line 20, after the dollar ount, ensert redust by $801,000. increase by $801,000. the chair: the gentlewoman from missouri and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from missouri. ms. wagner: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to thank chairman dent for letting me offer this amendment. i thank my colleagues from the entire missouri delegation, mr. clay, mr. cleaver, mr. long, mr. luetkemeyer, mr. smith, for their steadfast support and bipartisan co-sponsorship. this amendment is critical to the meeting the current and future requirements of the national geospatial agency and its replacement in north st. louis. is amendment allocates $801,000 for land and transfer acquisition activities associated with acquiring the land for the headquarters conforming with the headquarter
headquarters conforming with the senate's v.a. milcon bill. they identified the north st. louis site as a superior location because of its ability to provide the most tech no loling -- technological, academic an professional setting for them to solve the country's most vital intelligence and national security challenges. the city of st. louis is providing the land for this project at no cost to the federal government. its selection ensures that nga west's 70-year history in st. louis continues and that the 2000 n.g.a. west employees who live in missouri remain in close proximity to the headquarters. the st. louis region has a proven track record in capabilities that make it an idea place for n.g.a.'s new home. i ask that my colleagues vote in fare of this amendment to ensure n.g.a. west can continue to
perform its critical role in a community that understands its needs and strongly supports its mission. at this time, mr. speaker, i wish to yield two minutes to my friend and colleague, the gentleman from missouri, first district, mr. clay. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. clay: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank my colleague from missouri, the gentlewoman, ms. wagner, for yielding and i rise today in strong support of this amendment. as offered by ms. wagner. the national geospatial intelligence agency's decision to locate their new western headquarters in north st. louis was the right choice to support their vital national security mission. the best decision for the over 3,000 exceptional federal employees who work there and a will -- and it will transform a
federal failure into a transformational federal success. the misguided and shortsighted attempt to withhold funding from this project not only is petty and parochial, it's completely irresponsible because the laying this project would put our national security at risk. n.g.a. director robert perdillo said it best in his message to his mes -- employees on april 1, director -- the director said, and i quote, the future of our agency and our profession rests on our parentalent and that of the next general ration we can recruit onto our team. we face tough competition and offering an environment that appeals to these future generations is critical to our success. studies point to a desire by today's millenials to be in urban environments and this trend is expected to continue. he went on to say, our partnership with industry and
academia will continue to grow and expand as we transform some of our work to a more open, connected, and transparent environment. our ability to engage with local universities and innovative technology based companies is enhanced by remaining in st. louis city. i'm confident that we will build a facility in st. louis that will be a remarkable home for us to master our craft and engage with our partners in a flexible, technologically advanced environment that is enticing to current and future generations and i urge my colleagues to support the gentlewoman's amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expire the gentlelady from missouri reserves. ms. wagner: i reserve. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. >> i claim time in opposition. -- chair: the gentleman from
the chair: does anyone claim time in opposition? the gentlelady is recognized. ms. wagner: the setting is ideal for recruiting a highly trained work force. when focusing on the most professional environment to ensure our nation's security and the n.g.a. chose st. louis. the dillings has been made and my amendment supports the n.g.a.'s decision. thank you, mr. speaker, i thank the chairman, i thank my colleague from the first district of missouri and i yield back my time. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. all time for debate is over. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from missouri. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. clerk will read. the clerk: page 5, line 11, military construction, army national forward, $232,932,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. military construction, air national guard, $143,957,000 to
remain available until september 30, 2021. military construction, army reserve, $68,230,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. military construction, navy reserve, $38,597,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. military construction, air force reserve, $8,950,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. north atlantic treaty organization security investment .rogram, $177,932,000 family housing construction, army. $200,735,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. family housing operation and naintmans -- maintenance, army,
$325,995,000. family house, construction, navy and marine corps. $94,011,000 to remain available until september 30, 20 1. family housing operation and maintenance, navy and marine corps, $300,915,000. family housing construction, air force, $61,362,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. family housing operation and maintenance, air force, $274,429,000. family housing, operation and maintenance, defense wide. $59,157,000. department of defense family housing improvement fund. $3,258,000. department of defense base closure account, $230,237,000. administrative provisions, section 101. none of the funds shall be expended without the specific
approval in writing of the secerer tear of defense. section 102. funds made available shall be available for hire of passenger moe toffer vehicles. section 103. funds may be used for the federal highway administration department of transportation for the construction of access roads as authorized. section 104, none of the funds may be used to begin construction of new bases in the united states. section 105, none of the funds shall be used for purchase of land in excess of 100% of the value as determined by this army corps of engineers or the naval facilities engineering command. section 106. none of the funds shall be used to, one, acquire land, section 107, none of the funds for minor construction may be used to transfer any activity from one base to another. section 108. none of the funds may be used for the procurement of steel for which american steel producers have been denied the opportunity
to compete for such steel procurement. section 109. none of the funds for military construction may be used to pay real property tax any foreign nation. section 110. none of the funds may be used to initiate a new installation overseas without prior notification to committees on appropriations of both houses of congress. section 11. -- section 111. none of the funds may be obligated to architect contracts to exceed $500,000 for projects in japan. section 112. none of the funds for military construction may be used to award any contract estimated to exceed $1,000,000 to a foreign contractor. section 13. the secretary shall inform the committee if amounts expended are anticipated to exceed $100,000. section 114. funds appropriated to the department for construction in prior years shall be available
for each such military department by the authorization. section 115. for projects being completed with funds otherwise expired. section 116, any funds made available to a military department for the construction of military projects may be obligated. section 117. subject to prior notification, such amounts as may be determined may be transferred to the department family housing improvement fund from amount appropriated for construction and family housing accounts. section 118. amounts may be transfered from the department of defense base closure account to pay for expenses associated with a homeowners assistance program. section 119. funds made available in this title for operation and maintenance of family housing shall be exclusive source of funds for repair and maintenance of all family housing units. section 120. amounts contained in thed for
island -- forward ire land immaterial prufmente account shall be available until expended. section 121. during the five year period after appropriations for military constructions have expired, unobligated balances may be transferred into appropriation foreign currency fluctuation, construction defense. section 122. except as provided in subsection b, none of the funds may be used by the secretary to relocate a unit in the army that performs a testing mission. section 123. amounts may be transferred within the account in accordance with the reprogramming guidelines for military construction. section 124. none of the funds may be obligated for planning and design at arlington national cemetery. section 125. $25 million are hereby rescinded. section 126. $51,848,000 are rescinded. section 127.
$37,377,000 are rescinded. section 128. $40,500,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. section 129. $293,600,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. section 130. $67,50,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. section 131. $86,500,000 to remain available until september 30, 2021. section 13 2. $26 million to remain available until september 30, 2021. section 133. $25 million are rescinded. section 134, the term on gregs call defense committees means the committees on armed services of the house of representatives and the senate. section 136 none of
he funds may be carried out to close guantanamo bay cuba. title 2, department of veterans affairs, veterans benefits administration, compensation and including transfer of funds rgs $90 billion to remain available until expended and to become vailable on october 1, 2017. readjustment benefits $13 billion to remain available until expended and become available on october 1, 2017, $128,504,000rance, for direct and guaranteed loans.
in addition for administrative 06,000. , $167,1 loans programs accounts for direct loans $36,000. in addition for administrative expenses, $389,000. native american veteran housing .oan program account $1,163,000 veterans health administration . rvices $48 billion the chair: the clerk will suspend. the gentleman from from arizona seek recognition? mr. gosar: i have an amendment . the desk, gosar 211
the chair: would the gentleman repeat the amendment number again. mr. gosar: 211. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. gosar, page 29 line 6 insert increase by $4 million, page 33 line 12 after the first dollar amendment reduce by $5 million. the chair: pursuant to the resolution, the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. gosar: i rise to offer an amendment which redirects scarce resources. at a hearing evaluating efforts, chairman jeff miller stated that the latest data available from the v.a. reports that 22 veterans per day are committing suicide. the v.a. general administration
account got $15 million increase for more bureaucracy within the v.a. this year, the obama administration has requested $81 million increase for that account. the committee chose not to provide funding stating and i quote, it has doubts about the wisdom of establishing a large new office with regional staffing. my amendment transfers a portion fft fiscal year 2016 increase for government bureaucrats to important mental health services for our nation's heroes returning from combat. ptsd is contributing to veterans and these mental health issues result in suicides. more research is needed. while redirecting funds, the
congressional budget office also states that this amendment would save money and reduce outlays and reduce the level of funding closer to the administration's request for the fiscal year. the v.a. needs more money. let's post that money to where and whom the v.a. was created to serve and improve the mental health. i applaud the committee that the crisis line will provide a response towards mental health. i ask my colleagues to support this amendment and help ensure our veterans that are in need. i thank the chairman and ranking member and with that, i reserve. the chair: anyone claim time in opposition? the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i'm sympathetic to the ntent.
er the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. dent: i'm sympathetic with the intent of the gentleman's amendment to increase funding. we know this is a very serious problem. hese programs already receive. i urge its adoption. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. gosar: i thank the gentleman and i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does gentlelady from new mexico. he clerk: amendment by ms. lujan grisham lieu han and increase by $10 million sm
the chair: pursuant to house resolution 26, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new mexico. ms. lujan grisham: we have a provider shortage and only projected to get worse. the american association of medical colleges estimates that the united states could face a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2025. one of the most common complaints is even with the flex built they have to see outside providers, there aren't enough providers, especially v.a.-host providers to treat everyone. if trends continue, we will be without the work force needed to treat an aging population that will live with chronic health care issues. it hits rural, poor and under served communities. according to the new mexico work
force health care community, everyone has a shortage of providers. loss almoss community is the only county without a shortage. and primary care physicians are four times more available in urban areas than in rural new mexico. the result, longer waits, longer travel, patients not receiving the care they need and worst health care outcoments. we have to educate more providers, but that will not be enough to keep up with growing demand. we have to do a better job of leveraging the resources to put v.a. providers in the best situation we can to provide quality and timely care to their patients and the department of veterans affairs, the largest health care system in the united states should be using telehealth technology. the program is growing and ovided 2.1 million
consultations to thousands of veterans in 2015, but we can do much more. in a report last year, the v.a. inspector general found that they missed opportunities to serve veterans which could have potentially delayed the need for long-term institutional care tore more than or approximately 59,000 additional veterans. the v.a. inspector general found that telehealth patients showed the best outcomes in terms of patient admissions and bed care and saved money. using telehealth instead of placing a veteran in a home care facility saved and the veteran stays at home. should follow models such as the university of new mexico's project called echo and medical centers to ensure patients in
underserved communities get the care they need. the v.a. should increase its focus to improve clinical outcomes and reduce treatment costs. i urge members to support my amendment to prioritize funding to the v.a. telehealth program. the chair: the gentlelady yield. anyone claiming time in opposition? mr. dent: i claim time in opposition but i do not oppose. mr. dent: i share the gentlelady's concern about the importance of telehealth to provide health care to patients and especially useful in the treatment of behavioral health issues. v.a. is providing 2.1 million consultations to veterans in 2015, many of whom who were in rural areas.
v.a. funding will get to $2.1 billion. i urge adoption and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from georgia. mr. bishop: i thank the pennsylvania. and i support access to quality care. we need to recruit health professionals and telemedicine is a great tool to deal with the shortage of health professionals. i support this amendment and i urge all the members to do so and would bring access to care to our veterans in rural communities. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania yield back? department dent i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new mexico. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the
amendment is adopted. the clerk will read. the clerk: medical community care medical support and 000.liance $6,654, and medical and prosthetic ,shall remain 33 available. national cemetery administration $271 million. departmental administration, general administration $336. the chair: the clerk will suspend. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> i have eab amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report
the amendment r. keating: amendment number 067. the clerk: page 33, line 12, after the first dollar amount 5,,000.by $1, the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. keating: i thank chairman dent and ranking member bishop and for their cooperation in this amendment. i rise to offer an amendment that will support a requirement of v.a. prescribers to have a continuing medication course in pain management. about 30% of americans have some form of chronic pain, however the percentage of veterans who report chronic pain is significantly higher. over 50% of elderly veterans
report chronic pain as almost 60% of veterans returning from the conflict in the middle east. in fact, chronic pain is the most common medical problem by returning veterans. pain is not a stand-alone problem. pain is a consequence of physical injury and sometimes that leads to mental health ailments. we are more aware of the mental health consequences. veterans with brain talma are more likely to report physical pain and will receive prescriptions for opioids. roughly 523,000 veterans are receiving prescriptions for opioids and the number of veterans with opioid disorder
has grown 55%. veterans are twice as likely to overdose on prescription ep open yoids on the population. quality care can be offered to our military personnel and it's unparalleled. now we need to do our part to help veterans manage their chronic pain. i introduced the safe prescribing for veterans act hat those who understand practices and spot the signs of potential substance abuse disorders. this works by helping health care providers to take ontinuing education cases. health care providers need continuing education to maintain the license and my bill makes
sure they spend some of the already required time learning about safe opioids prescribing practices. the bill does not add to credits, it just insists they spend their time on this important issue. only ly 14 states require physicians to take pain management credits. my constituents are lucky in massachusetts because we're one of the states that ask physicians to have pain management training. however, even our neighbors states don't have the mandatory main management requirement. veterans in my district, especially on the south coast, find it easier to receive health care at v.a. hospitals in rhode island. as of now, there's no guarantee that the doctors they see in providence have taken the same pain management education courses. i rise before you today in an effort to give our veterans that guarantee. i urge my colleagues to join me
in support of this amendment, ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve. i reserve the plans of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. does anyone rise in opposition to the amendment? >> i seek time in opposition but i'm not opposed to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. shuster: the gentleman is addressing a problem many members contacted us about, long delays that community practitioners are experiencing being paid by v.a. for their care for -- mr. dent: long delays that community practitioners are experiencing in being paid by v.a. for their care. g.a.o. just released a report with alarming data about v.a.'s significant problems in managing prompt payment to outside providers. i'm sure we'll revisit this issue in conference and welcome any suggestions the gentleman has for us. i have no objection to this amendment and urge its adoption. the chair: the gentleman yields.
the gentleman from massachusetts. >> i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed. to for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. clausen of florida, page 33, line 12, after the first dollar amount insert reduced by $5 million. page 35, line 1, after the dollar amount insert increased by $5 million. page 35, line 8, after the dollar amount, insert increased by $5 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 536, the gentleman from florida and a member opposed each are recognized for five minutes. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. clausen: thank you, chairman
dent, respect for what you do and how yo do it. agrow or disagree you do it the right way and i appreciate your leadership style. mr. clawson: i thank you for the opportunity for my amendment to the military construction v.a. and related appropriations bill. may 30 memorial day a day we set aside to recognize a tremendous debt of gratitude for those who have selflessly sacrificed for our liberties. from constituent discussions in my district, i am acutely aware that customer service for our vets often falls short of the mark. far too many of our vets, i am told, simply do not receive timely responses to their health care questions. we can do better. my amendment, which i'm proposing, is directed at improving customer service problems by improving the information technology at v.a. facilities.
my amendment would enhance veterans' customer service experiences by funding improved service based commodtized technology and telecommunications. for this, my amendment would add $5 million to the i.t. systems account specifically the funding directed at development, modernization, and enhancement of the current i.t. infrastructure. in the proposed budget, this account is currently funded at $4.23 billion, $50 million short of the president's budget request of $4.28 billion. my amendment would offset this $5 million by reducing the general administration account currently funded at $336 million. the redirect of $5 million would be used in acquiring new technologies to provide more
acceptable customer satisfaction and delivery measures. i am a proud son of a veteran who served overseas. in my role in congress, it is great honor and privilege to serve over 100,000 veterans who call my district their home. we all know vets, friends, neighbors, family, and in my case a nephew just returning from afghanistan and a father who served a long time ago. let's do to -- let's do right by these brave folks by improving their customer service and response. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. dent: mr. chairman, i seek time in opposition but do not oppose the amendment. the clerk: without objection the gentleman -- the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. dent: i know the gentleman from florida is committed to
improving veterans' experiences when they deal with the v.a. and modern i.t. infrastructure is an important part of that i have no objection to the amendment and certainly appreciate the gentleman's deep commitment, given his own father's experience in our armed fores -- forces, we thank him for that service. i have no objection to this amendment and yield back. the chair: all time for debate has been yielded. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the amendment is adopted. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. keating of massachusetts, page 33, line 12, insert reduce by $1 million, increase by $1 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 736, the gentleman from massachusetts and a member ose o posed each will control five minutes. mr. keating: i would like to thank chairman dent and ranking
member bishop for their work on this bill. i rise to offer a straightforward amendment to improve our understand og they have causes of delays within the veterans choice program. the veterans choice program was implemented to address delays in patient care at the veterans administration, however, as of april of this year, data from the v.a. showed that the number of veterans waiting more than 30 days for an appointment was actually higher than when the veterans choice program was initiated. the well intentioned and necessary program was initiated and acknowledged the fact that the veterans choi program it was cobbled together very quick he fwiven the time constraints. this l to excesstive privatization and contracting through third party which is have contributed to frequent delays and we're seeing these delays even today. in my district alone, i've spoke within numerous veterans who live a great distance from v.a. medical facilities such as the islands of martha's vineyard and man duct -- and nantucket.
my constituents rely heavily on accessibility to nonv.a. doctors veterans choice is exend -- intended to provide. further, another problem is the lack of clear communications regarding the eligibility requirements of the program to both veterans and nonv.a. providers. understanding the obstacles around efficient ski juflse appointments of veterans and swift reimbursement for providers would serve as a crucial first step in resolving some of the issues of the choice -- that the choice program faces. without this understanding, the program itself really isn beneficial. that's why i'm offering th amendment. to advocate for redrebted funding toward finding a solution to the delays and the communication errors plauing implementation of the veterans choice. i have no doubt whatsoever that every member of congress here agrees that our veterans deserve the veryest possible care a
the -- in the timeliest of manner. ultimately this amendment is meant to assist the v.a. in identifying why these delays are occurring and help recommend solutions. i want to thank the chairman again and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. does anyone claim time in opposition? mr. bishop: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized f five minutes. mr. bishop: i agree with the gentleman from massachusetts that we need to take a serious look at the choice program. v.a.'s most recent data show compared to last year there are 70,000 more appointments that kept a veteran waiting treast a month to get care. furthermore, a march general accounting office report showed that the choice program had little impact on getting veterans to see a primary care physician in 30 days. thousands of veterans refer to the -- referred to the program are returning to the v.a. for care, sometimes because the program could not find a doctor
for them and because the private doctor they were told to see was too far away according to v.a. data. fact, the inspector general found in colorado, veterans are waiting longer for 30 days for care because staff was not adding them to the list of patients eligible for the choice program. that alone -- let alone slow reimbursements. two years ago, congress was hearing about the v.a. concealing wait times at clinics and about veterans suffering as a result and we were forced to act quickly in this crisis. i believe that congress will have to revamp the choice program to make sure that it's doing what congress intended for it to do. and they're going to need an honest assessment from the v.a. i urge all members to support this amendment and i yield back the balance. the chair: the gentleman yields back. in i member claiming time in
opposition? >> i'd like to claim time in opposition. i do not oppose the amendment. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. dent: i just want to say briefly, i know the gentleman is very interested, as we all are, in finding ways to ensure v.a. health care providers receive up to date and comprehensive training in pain management medications system of many veterans struggle with chronic pan and we've seen the consequences of overprescription of opioids as a method of treatment and i appreciate the gentleman's advocacy and have no objection to the amendment and urge adoption. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves. mr. keating: thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member, i yield back. the chair: all time for debate having been yielded. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is adopted. clerk will read. clip page 33, line 17, board of
veterans appeal, $166,096,000. general operating expences, veterans benefit administration. $2,826,126,000. the chair: clerk will suspend. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. ruiz of california. page 34, line 5, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $5 million, increased by $5 million. the chair: the gentleman from california and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the gentleman is recognized. mr. ruiz: i rise to offer an amendment to h.r. 4974, the military construction and veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations act of 2017. my amendment will help reduce the v.a.'s claims backlog and help improve the lives of our
veterans. california's -- california is home to two million veterans and i'm proud to represent more than 54,000 vet ans in my district alone. there are 40,000 veterans expected to return to california every year for the next several years, including the fastest growing group of returning veterans, women. we must ensure that our veterans have timely access to the critical benefits they have earned and deserve. unconscionably, thousands of veterans who have actry ficed for our country are struggling to access benefit they was already earned. due to the lingering claims backlog at the veterans affairs administration, veterans across our nation are waiting for pensions, prescription drugs, and even laich-saving medical care. slet rans are still waiting for 351,676 to process benefit claims and 749,000 of those veterans have been waiting
longer than 125 days for a decision. we owe it to our courageous men and women to clear this harmful backlog as soon as possible. reduced to a claim number in a seemingly endless line, our veterans experience pain, frustration, hopelessness, and despair. although the backlog has shrunk since congress last passed a similar appropriations bill, we must not lose sight of the importance of getting veterans their hard-earned benefits as soon as possible. that is why i am offering this amendment to advocate for this adecisional $5 million to fund the digital scanning of health and benefits files to reduce the backlog by redirecting funding within the general operating expenses account of the veterans benefits administration. this amendment simply directs funds toward the digital scanning of health and benefit files that will reduce the claims backlog without any new
spending. as an energy i understand the proves si in health care and i know how dangerous bureaucratic rejection can be for a person with ptsd or depression. by committing resources to benefits files, we will increase v.a.'s capacity to tackle the claims backlog and ensuring that veterans receive the benefits they earned in a timely manner. we must make sure that congress focuses on eliminating the claims backlog for good. stand up for veterans and support my pragmatic amendment. mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. any one claim time in
opposition? the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. dent: i seek time in opposition but i don't oppose the amendment. on the v.a. claims' backlog we have fully funded the president's request and i wanted to say that and we have no objection to the amendment and prepared to support it. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion the chair the ayes have it and the amendment s adopted. page 34 line 16 information technology systems 4 billion. office of