WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today underscored the inclusion of key funding priorities related to veteran’s issues in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus spending bill.
“We have a solemn duty to provide for veterans who have served and sacrificed in defense of our freedom. I am committed to making sure that our veterans receive the services and benefits they have earned and the support they were promised and deserve. The Omnibus codifies our commitment to our veterans,” said Senator Cardin.
“No veteran should ever experience homelessness, so I was especially pleased to see that $1.4 billion will fund grants to help homeless veterans find permanent housing. The federal funding we approved in the omnibus will support Maryland organizations like Way Station, The Baltimore Station, and the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVet). These organizations are on the front lines of the fight against veteran homelessness. The spending package also contains a hard-fought $7.5 billion in funding to provide mental health services to veterans. Our veterans deserve every possible tool we can provide to help ease their transition back to civilian life.
“For years, I have called on the VA to become more user friendly and responsive. This year, we approved $2.7 billion for improved claims processing and $290 million for a paperless claims processing system that should make progress in clearing the inexcusable backlog. Maryland veterans will also be helped by the allocation of $83.7 million for a replacement community living center in Perry Point, Md.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will receive $91.3 billion in mandatory funding and $71.4 billion in discretionary funding in the Omnibus. The Veterans Health Administration will receive $61.8 billion to ensure that the men and women who served this nation can access the quality care they deserve. Wounded warriors will benefit from the $12 million in funding for the FY16 Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program while the Defense Medical Research and Development Program will receive over $2 billion in total for lifesaving medical research and development.