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House Passes VA Budget

The House of Representatives approved funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year. The funding also applies to long-delayed military construction projects.

The official site for the House Appropriations Committee Chair Kaye Granger notes the passage of House Resolution 4366, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, was approved with a vote of 339 to 85. That act includes the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which fully funds the VA if the measure is fully approved.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 must pass the Senate before it can move to the President’s desk for signature or veto.

The House Federal Budget Plan

The House’s approval of $460 billion in funding for multiple federal agencies is a much-delayed step forward by the federal government, which has been paralyzed by lawmakers trying to insert unrelated culture war riders into critical government spending measures.

Some lawmakers wanted to ban Pride flags at VA facilities, dictate what the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer to those seeking reproductive care, and gender-affirming medical care for transgender veterans.

But in the end, House factions were largely disappointed by the lack of culture war add-ons to the House version of the budget.

A Stars and Stripes article on the budget quotes one member of the House Appropriations Committee as saying that while the budget doesn’t have everything either side wanted, “I am pleased that many of the extreme cuts and policies” proposed by some factions in the House were cut from the bill.

The article notes that lawmakers “rejected outright” many irrelevant policy add-ons. How badly delayed was the federal budget thanks to House factions and their culture wars?

The House is approving the FY 2024 budget one week before the White House makes its FY 2025 budget request.

The Next Deadline

The spending measures mentioned above must be passed by the Senate on Friday, March 8, 2024, to avoid a government shutdown.

It is not a complete shutdown but the beginning of a phased-in government shutdown that will affect some agencies earlier and more severely than others. As mentioned above, if the Resolution passes the Senate, it goes to the President’s desk for signature or veto.

The federal budget has moved forward, but it’s not a done deal at press time. This is a developing story.

Related: Veteran and Retiree Military Benefits

What’s in the House Spending Bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The VA portion of the federal budget Resolution passed by the House includes funding for VA programs such as suicide prevention, substance abuse treatment, VA options for women veterans, and funds for homeless veteran outreach.

According to the House Appropriations Committee Chair’s official site, the VA budget package, formally known as the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • A “fully funded” budget for veteran medical care
  • $2 billion in additional funds “above the President’s Budget Request for military construction”
  • Investments in “barracks and other quality-of-life projects”

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act is only one of several federal spending bills passed by the House to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Related: Veteran and Retiree Military Benefits

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.