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Senate Committee Approves VA Funding During National VA Research Week

May 22, 2015—The Senate Appropriations Committee May 21 approved by a 21 to 9 vote its fiscal year (FY) 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) spending bill.  During the MilCon-VA markup, the overall FY 2016 spending allocations (see related story) were the focus of debate, with Democrats describing the levels as “spartan.”

The Senate measure includes $48.7 billion for FY 2016 VA Medical Services, a $3.5 billion (7.7 percent) increase over the FY 2015 enacted level. However, similar to the House approach, the Senate bill includes across-the-board rescissions to prevent a scheduled 1.3 percent VA pay raise.

The measure provides $622 million for VA Research, a $33 million (5.6 percent) increase over current levels, in line with the final House bill after an amendment offered by Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) [see Washington Highlights, April 24]. The bill also matches the President’s Budget and House levels for FY 2017 advanced appropriations for VA medical services, facilities, and support and compliance with $63.3 billion.

At a May 20 Senate VA Committee hearing on the legislative priorities of several Veterans Service Organizations, many of the witness organizations recommended additional funding for VA Research. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) National President Al Kovach noted, “PVA is extremely disappointed that the House bill does not fully fund the Medical Services account to the levels recommended by the Administration for FY 2016, while also forcing cuts to Medical Support and Compliance, Medical Facilities, and Medical and Prosthetic Research.”

PVA is a co-author of the Independent Budget and serves with AAMC on the Executive Committee of the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) coalition.

Meanwhile, the VA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) May 18-22 coordinated National VA Research Week. Among other events at VA Medical Centers and academic affiliates across the country, ORD highlighted the Cleveland-based Advanced Platform Technology Center, where VA researchers reported on new technology that will restore natural touch perception to users of artificial hands.


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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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806