WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured a number of West Virginia priorities in the Appropriations subcommittee markup of the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Constriction and Veterans Affairs funding bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee continues to work through the rest of the funding bills, which will be voted on by the full Senate later this year.
“We made a sacred commitment to our Veterans to ensure they have the support they deserve, and a responsibility to make sure the best military in the world has the infrastructure they need to keep our country safe,” said Senator Manchin. “This funding bill provides our Veterans with the care and benefits they earned, and our military with the necessary investments to strengthen critical infrastructure and ensure preparedness. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to bringing back regular order, doing our job, and passing funding bills on time to deliver these crucial resources to our Veterans and military.”
West Virginia priorities included in the FY24 Military Constriction and Veterans Affairs funding bill:
- Rural Veterans
- Office of Rural Health: $347 million for the Office of Rural Health and the Rural Health Initiative within the VA, $10 million more than the FY23 enacted level and the President’s request. The Office of Rural Health (ORH) implements a number of programs that help improve the health and well-being of rural Veterans by increasing their access to care and services.
- Transportation for Rural Veterans: $15 million for the Highly Rural Transportation Grants Program within the Office of Rural Health to help veterans in rural areas with transportation to and from VA or VA-authorized healthcare facilities.
- Access to Care for Rural Veterans: Report language prohibiting the VA from taking steps towards closing facilities or diminishing services without first providing a report to Congress that includes an analysis of how the action would impact access to care for Veterans in rural areas.
- Telehealth: $5,165,336,000 for VA telehealth capacity including in rural and highly rural areas.
- Opioid Safety Initiatives: $715,365,000 for Opioid Prevention and Treatment programs at VA.
- Alternative Treatments to Opioids: Report language urging VA to expand the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment, such as that taught at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, as an alternative to prescription opioids.
- Veterans Safety and Homelessness
- VA Homelessness: $3,113,530,000 to support the VA’s homelessness prevention programs, including $620,000,000 for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which helps homeless Veterans and their families find and sustain permanent housing and access the health care, mental health treatment, substance use counseling, and other support services.
- Veterans’ Crisis Line: $300,500,000 for the Veterans Crisis Line to provide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for Veterans and their families, as well as geolocation capabilities to facilitate emergency dispatch similar to 911 call centers.
Senator Manchin also secured $36,850,000 in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) requests or ‘earmarks’ in the FY24 Military Constriction and Veterans Affairs funding bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee allows members of Congress to submit CDS requests, which provide opportunities for state and local governments, non-profits, and other public entities to receive targeted funding for projects that bolster their communities.
|WV National Guard||167th Airlift Wing Shepherd Field Indoor Small Arms Range||Martinsburg||Berkeley||$7,000,000||Supports the training of personnel with an indoor small arms range.|
|WV National Guard||167th Airlift Wing Shepherd Field Main Gate Entry Control Point Renovation||Martinsburg||Berkeley||$6,000,000||Supports multiple terrorism and force protection deficiencies.|
|WV National Guard||130th Airlift Wing McLaughlin Air National Guard Base Renovate Building 107 for Small Air Terminal||Charleston||Kanawha||$2,500,000||Supports the new C-130J mission in Charleston.|
|WV National Guard||130th Airlift Wing McLaughlin Air National Guard Base Renovate Building 109 for Aerospace Support Equipment||Charleston||Kanawha||$3,000,000||Supports the new C-130J mission in Charleston.|
|WV National Guard||Charleston National Guard Readiness Center Planning & Design||Charleston||Kanawha||$4,800,000||Addresses currently space requirements.|
|WV National Guard||Bluefield National Guard Readiness Center Planning & Design||Bluefield||Mercer||$1,950,000||Meets standards for anti-terrorism and force protection.|
|WV National Guard||Camp Dawson-Kingwood Covered Training Area Minor Construction||Kingwood||Preston||$8,300,000||Ensures all soldiers at Camp Dawson have access to meet physical fitness standards.|
|WV National Guard||Parkersburg National Guard Readiness Center Planning & Design||Parkersburg||Wood||$3,300,000||Meets standards for anti-terrorism and force protection.|
|8 TOTAL PROJECTS||$ 36,850,000|