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Case Announces House Appropriations Committee Approval of FY 2023 Federal Funding Measure for National Military Construction and Veterans Programs

Bill includes additional funding to address Red Hill crisis and several Case requests to address Hawai‘i needs including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and veterans’ telehealth and homelessness

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) has announced approval by his U.S. House Committee on Appropriations of another key measure for Hawai‘i that is among the twelve bills to collectively fund the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (commencing October 1, 2022).

The FY 2023 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill proposes to fund construction and maintenance of our defense facilities throughout the country and world, our national cemeteries and battle monuments, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and various small agencies and programs supporting our nation's some 19 million veterans and their families. The discretionary funding level is $150.5 billion, an increase of $23 billion over the FY 2022 enacted level.

It includes another $100 million in funding to address the Red Hill Crisis, which will augment the $1 billion Case secured in the FY 2023 Defense Appropriations bill and the $1.1 billion the Hawai’i delegation secured in current FY 2022. The additional funds will be used by the Navy and the Indo-Pacific Command to begin the planning and design for building new facilities to remove and relocate the fuel currently at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. These funds can also be used to design facilities to help remediate the Red Hill shaft.

The bill also provides a further $1.3 billion, an increase of $492 million above the FY 2022 funding level, for the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP), a $21 billion multi-year effort to upgrade the Navy’s four public shipyards. This includes over $621 million for Dry Dock 5 at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Hawaii’s largest industrial employer with some 6,000 local employees.

“Keeping SIOP on track and fully funded is one of my top priorities on my Appropriations Committee,” said Case, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee which develops and oversees all military construction and veterans affairs funding. “These additional funds are especially targeted at continuing the massive Pearl Harbor project to build a new $3.5 billion state-of-the-art drydock for the next generation of Navy submarines and surface ships, a project that will contribute tremendously not just to our national defense but to our local economy.”

Case also won approval of his community project funding requests for the initial planning, design and construction phase for two water system distribution upgrades serving Fort Shafter and Tripler Army Medical Center.

The water systems at both locations have begun to fail and must be replaced to ensure access to clean drinking water. The medical center upgrade will support over 450,000 service members, veterans and their families that use the hospital. These beneficiaries come from not only Hawai‘i but from throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“Finally, with some 112,000 veterans in Hawai‘i and their families making up one of the largest percentages of any state in our nation including in such key areas like women and minority veterans, I focused especially on the often unique challenges of delivering full veterans’ health and other benefits in a diverse island state.”

Specific programs and provisions requested and secured by Case include:

·         $2 million for the initial planning and design of the Fort Shafter Water System Upgrade Project, which would improve the water supply system that supports service members and local businesses in the area.

·         $2 million for the initial planning and design of the Tripler Army Medical Center Water System Upgrade Project, which would improve the water distribution system for the hospital.

·         $621 million for the Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard Dry Dock 5, which would continue construction on the shipyard’s recapitalization. 

·         $29 million for the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Kapolei, which would improve the Hawai‘i National Guard’s facilities.

·         $2 billion for military family housing construction around the country, which would help fund new family housing on O‘ahu. 

·         $2.7 billion for homeless assistance programs for our nation’s veterans, an increase of $531 million above the FY 2022 enacted level. This funding will enhance VA’s ability to reach homeless veterans, which is particularly crucial as the most recent homelessness survey showed that on a given night in 2021, an estimated 19,750 veterans nationwide were experiencing homelessness.

·         $307.5 million for Rural Health Initiatives, which is equal to the FY 2021 enacted level. This will build upon VA’s success in having served 2.9 million veterans at 600 rural serving sites.

·         $5.2 billion for Telehealth and Connected Care, an increase of $2.7 billion from the FY 2021 enacted funding level. This will continue expansion of telehealth services and includes additional mental health, primary care and rehabilitation services. 

The measure also:

·         Directs the Department of Defense (DOD) to address Hawai‘i missile defense in the absence of the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawai‘i, which has been paused as the department conducts a large study to reassess how to best protect Hawai‘i from missile attacks. 

·         Directs the DOD to address underfunded and dilapidated Army infrastructure on O‘ahu via the Hawai‘i Infrastructure Readiness Initiative. 

·         Directs the VA to address the parking shortage at the Tripler Army Medical Center.

·         Directs the VA to ensure equity in support and outreach to U.S. veterans living in the Philippines. 

·         Continues rigorous reporting requirements to track each regional VA office’s performance on claims processing and appeals backlogs. 

·         Allows the VA to provide more grants to assist states in constructing state home facilities; for furnishing domiciliary or nursing home care to veterans; and to expand, remodel or alter existing buildings. 

Case’s Appropriations Committee is responsible for allocating some $1.6 trillion in funding to federal government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis through twelve separate bills. 

The bill now moves onto the full House of Representatives for consideration.

A summary of the military construction and veterans funding bill is here.