Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) voted to support our veterans and military personnel by funding critical veterans programs and health services, as well as the construction of key military facilities. This included vitally important projects and services for troops and veterans in the 9th Congressional District.

“As someone who represents thousands of military veterans and their families, I believe we have an obligation to provide them with the benefits and treatment they deserve,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “This legislation accomplishes that by providing $108.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a $14.5 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2009.”

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act will strengthen quality health care for more than six million patients – including 419,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also provides important funding for mental health programs, assistance to homeless veterans, and to improve access for veterans in rural areas.  In addition, the bill provides advance appropriations for veterans health services in 2011, so the funding stream for our veterans’ health care is timely and reliable.

“This bill will also help to construct, maintain and enhance our local and national military facilities,” said Smith. “Specifically, I was pleased to see funds included for the construction of a Joint Access Road between Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base – a project I worked to secured funds for because of its importance to my district.”

To support our military, the bill provides the funding necessary to meet their construction needs. Specifically, the bill provides funding to accelerate the Army’s program to modernize housing facilities, address the unfunded construction requirements of the Guard and Reserves, and construct military child care centers and military family housing.

Locally, the bill provides $150,836,000 for a variety of construction projects at Ft. Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, including $9 million requested by Congressman Smith for a joint access road between the installations. The access road will help alleviate congestion on Interstate 5 by providing travel between the two bases and provide a deployment route for the air transportation of Army vehicles and equipment.

The 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act is one of 12 annual appropriations bills that fund Federal Government programs and services.  For a full summary of the bill visit the House Appropriations Committee.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed in to law.