Appropriations Bill Contains Priorities Championed by Rep. Cartwright
Washington, DC – Yesterday, the House Committee on Appropriations passed a bill that included several priorities championed by U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, a member of the committee. The FY18 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) appropriations bill included robust funding for suicide prevention, opioid abuse treatment, and homeless assistance for veterans.
The MilCon-VA appropriations bill funds the construction of military facilities and housing, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and maintenance of military cemeteries and battlefield monuments.
“Our servicemembers and veterans sacrifice so much for our national security, and they should receive the best care possible,” said Rep. Cartwright. “I am pleased that this bill included robust funding for the prevention of suicide, homelessness, and drug addiction among our veteran community, and encourages improvements in rural health care and equality at the VA.”
The provisions pushed by Rep. Cartwright are:
Suicide prevention among veterans
Bill language included $186 million in suicide prevention outreach. Report language accompanying the bill highlighted the importance of the veterans’ crisis line and the need to continually improve it as a service.
Opioid addiction treatment options for veterans
Bill language included $55.8 million for opioid addiction prevention. Report language accompanying the bill highlighted the importance of prescription information sharing between the VA and states battling the opioid epidemic.
Homeless veteran assistance programs
Bill language included $7.3 billion in treatment, services, housing, and job training for homeless veterans. Report language accompanying the bill encouraged the use of HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) vouchers, a rental assistance and supportive service program for veterans.
Innovation and development of VA use of telemedicine
Bill language included $250 million in rural health initiatives. Report language accompanying the bill encouraged further development and implementation of telemedicine.
Improved treatment for female veterans at VA facilities
Report language accompanying the bill pushed for improvement in addressing the needs of female veterans and highlighted specific concerns of female veterans, such as their higher risk of suicide and their unique problems faced in homelessness.