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House Appropriations Committee Passes Fiscal Year 2021 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Bill

Measure Includes Hundreds of Millions in Funding for Hawai’i Projects and Priorities Sought by Appropriations Committee Member Case

(Honolulu, HI) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced House Appropriations Committee passage today of its recommended $251 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Bill.

The measure, which now goes to the full House for final approval, includes Case’s requests for more than $300 million for five major construction projects at military installations in Hawai‘i. For Hawai’i veterans, Case’s requests to direct completion of the new Leeward outpatient facility and adequate parking at Tripler Hospital were also included.

“These military projects address critical facility and quality of life issues which are so important to the wellbeing of our servicemembers and their families and to Hawaii’s role in our national defense,” said Case. “Equally important, as our visitor industry takes years to recover, we must rely especially on the other two legs of our local economy – federal/defense spending and construction – to keep generating good jobs and maintain the best economic foundation possible.”

Case serves on the House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for allocating federal funds to government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis. Each year the Committee prepares for full House consideration of twelve separate appropriations measures which together total some $1.4 trillion in federal spending. 

The committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, on which Case serves, is responsible for this measure which funds military construction projects, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and various independent federal agencies that assist veterans.

“Our bill also continues our commitment to take care of our veterans, including the over 112,000 which live in Hawai’i, and their families,” said Case. “We must ensure that they are well-cared for, especially throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Provisions in the bill of special interest to Hawai‘i secured by Case include:

  • Funding for five major military construction projects in Hawai‘i – two new child development centers ($97 million), an aircraft maintenance hangar at Wheeler Army Airfield ($89 million) and two wharf improvement projects at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam ($115 million).
  • Directing the military to address the parking shortfall at Tripler Army Medical Center, to include the possible location, cost and timeline for building a new parking garage that sufficiently fulfills the parking demands for both the Army and the VA.
  • Continuing preferential contracting for Native Hawaiian Organizations and other indigenous peoples with respect to working with the Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration.
  • Preventing efforts to transfer funds away from the Filipino Equity Compensation Fund, which provides a one-time, lump-sum payments to eligible World War II Philippine Veterans.
  • Expanding efforts to monitor privatized military housing with an additional $135 million of funding and various reporting requirements.
  • Providing $1.2 million for the Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program, which assist Native Hawaiians.
  • Directing the VA to commence and complete the already-approved and funded but delayed Advanced Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access (ALOHA) Project, a 66,000 square foot leased medical facility critical to veterans on O‘ahu.

In total, the bill provides $250.9 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, an increase of $15.2 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $2.3 billion above the President’s budget request. This includes:

  • $10.1 billion for military construction, which is $2.3 billion above the President’s budget request.
  • $104.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the VA, an increase of $12.3 billion above the Fiscal Year 2020 enacted level.
  • $81.8 million for Arlington National Cemetery, which is $11 million above the President’s budget request.