Today, U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) voted for the Conference Report on the FY 2006, Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. This bill rectifies the shortfall in veterans’ health care and also included Smith’s request for a $1.42 million earmark for construction of the Homeland Security Multi-Functional Education Center at Camp Murray, near Tacoma, Washington.
“Included in today’s bill was an additional $1.2 billion to remedy the shortfall in veterans’ health care for this year,” said Smith. “This funding is a result of Democrats working with veterans’ organizations throughout the year to put the pressure on the Republican leadership to make sure that veterans get the benefits they deserve.
Smith also notes that, “more than 50,000 veterans are waiting in line for at least six months for veterans’ health care, and the number of new enrollees waiting for their first appointment has increased by over 500 percent in the last year. That problem will only get worse with the growing numbers of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is long past time for veterans to get the health care funding that they deserve.”
Also included in the bill was a $1.42 million earmark for construction of the Homeland Security Multi-Functional Education Center at Camp Murray.
This funding would go toward the construction of a 6,190 square foot, single story multi-functional Homeland Security educational center.
“The lack of proper facilities has a negative impact and individual readiness of our Guardsmen and women,” said Smith. “This directly improves the readiness of Army National Guard units as well as first responders in the supported area.”
Training is currently being conducted in a WWII-era wooden building modified to administrative and educational spaces, without adequate sanitary facilities, HVAC, fire protection, or functional work space. The new facility will support the 205th Training Regiment of the Washington Army National Guard, which has the mission of training Guard units in the Pacific Northwest.