WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.), today announced the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs 2008 spending bill (H.R.2642) provides more than $963 million for projects at Maryland’s military facilities, including $698.6 million in Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) projects. The legislation, which passed the Senate today, contains provisions for military installations nationwide, with federal funding totaling $21.55 billion to support new construction costs.
“I told Maryland’s military leaders I would fight for this funding. My promises made are promises kept,” said Senator Mikulski. “A stronger America begins at home. That’s why every year, I fight to make sure our military has the tools they need to keep us safe. I will keep up my work to make sure Maryland communities have what they need in the federal checkbook to implement the BRAC recommendations.”
“I am proud that this bill contains the resources necessary to provide Maryland’s installations and communities with the resources needed to implement the BRAC recommendations, care for our veterans, and improve the quality of life for military families,” said Senator Cardin. “This legislation is critical to our current and future military mission.”
The spending bill includes nearly $165 million for Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County for the following projects:
— $152 million in BRAC funding for a Defense Information Services Agency building.
— $7.9 million for a new Power, Space and Cooling Utilities Building at the National Security Agency (NSA).
— $4 million for an exterior stair tower at the NSA Operations Building to address building safety codes.
— $94,000 in BRAC funding for a Clearance Adjudication Facility.
The bill also includes $87.5 billion for critical Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs, a significant $4 billion more than the President requested and the largest increase for veterans’ health care in the 77 years of the department’s existence. This includes $300,000 to support an Advanced Low Vision Clinic at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. This clinic will help rehabilitate wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with eyesight injuries, such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and older veterans whose eyesight has deteriorated and results in frequent falls and injuries.
In the next step of the legislative process, the House and Senate will meet in Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The Conference report will then be voted on by both Houses of Congress. Once passed by the House and Senate, the bill will go to the President for his signature. Senator Mikulski is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Cardin is a member of the Budget Committee.