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VA appropriations bill introduced in the House

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The House Appropriations Committee voted May 31 to reduce Veterans Affairs Department spending in the coming fiscal year as as part of H.R. 2055 (.pdf).

The appropriations bill sets total mandatory and discretionary VA funding for fiscal 2012 at $129.7 billion--$476 million less than President Obama's budget request of $130.2 billion, although it's 5.3 percent more than the Fiscal 2011 enacted amount of $123.2 billion. Under the bill, fiscal 2012 VA funding would also include $69.5 billion in mandatory spending, which is equal to amount budgeted for in the president's request. 

Federal fiscal years begin each Oct. 1; it is now late in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.

Under the bill, the Veterans Benefits Administration would have a total mandatory and discretionary funding level of $69.6 billion, an amount equal to the president's request and $5.1 billion more than what was enacted in 2011.

The Veterans Health Administration would have a total mandatory and discretionary funding level of $53 billion, an amount equal to the president's request and $1.9 billion more than what was enacted in 2011. Advanced appropriations for VHA's Veteran Medical Services, Medical Support Compliance and medical facilities would total $50.5 billion. Advanced appropriation to finance those VHA programs in 2013 is also included in the bill and totals $52.5 billion.

The largest single cut made by House committee to the VA budget request is a 136.38 million reduction in the department's information technology budget.

A White House statement (.pdf) June 1 said the administration supports the passage of H.R. 2055, but urges lawmakers to "problematic policy and language issues," in the portion of the bill having to do with military construction projects of the bill.

According to Roll Call, consideration for the bill and possible amendments will likely be taken up after the House returns from a weeklong recess on June 13.

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for the bill, H.R. 2055

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