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House Subcommittee Approves MilCon-VA Appropriations, Sparks FY 2014 Sequestration Debate

May 17, 2013—The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) May 15 held a markup of the FY 2014 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) draft spending bill.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chair John Culberson (R-Texas) praised bipartisan work to address the failure of the VA and the Department of Defense to develop a single unified electronic medical record.  He also noted the rescission of unspent construction funding, mentioning the Denver VA Medical Center as an example.

Ranking Member Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) echoed Chairman Culberson’s comments regarding the unified medical record.  Also, he expressed his appreciation that the bill matches the administration’s request for VA Research.

The FY 2014 bill would provide $585.7 million for VA Medical and Prosthetic Research, a $2.9 million (0.5 percent) increase over FY 2013.  The bill also matches the president’s budget request with $55.6 billion in advance appropriations for FY 2015 VA medical care [see Washington Highlights, April 12].

Full Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) noted that the bill largely reflects the president’s budget request and does not include sequestration.  She asked, “Mr. Chairman, if the MilCon-VA bill assumes the sequester cuts have been replaced, why can’t we assume it was addressed for other bills as well?”

She added, “As you know, Mr. Chairman, I have been critical of the House Majority’s refusal to go to conference to forge a bipartisan agreement on the budget resolution especially on the 302(a) allocation. This imperils this year’s appropriations process, making it nearly impossible to move all twelve bills.  Instead, we will likely see a few bills given reasonable allocations while others are left in limbo, indefinitely until we pass a [continuing resolution].”

Full Committee Chair Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) responded, “Most of this bill is exempt from sequestration and that’s the reason you had a fairly good number to mark up to … all the veterans matters are exempt from sequestration, which gave you a leg up.”


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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