Hoeven Secures Strong Support for ND Military Construction Projects, Veterans Affairs Programs

FY19 Legislation Funds Fargo National Guard Readiness Center, Upgrades to Helicopter Facility at Minot Air Force Base, Supports Veterans Health Care Closer to Home

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today announced that he has secured funding for important military construction projects for the North Dakota National Guard and Minot Air Force Base in the Fiscal Year 2019 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding legislation. Hoeven also worked to secure strong support for veterans programs to help them access health and long-term care services closer to home. 

“We secured important funding to move forward with vital military projects in North Dakota. The legislation provides $32 million for a Guard Readiness Center in Fargo, which will house parts of three National Guard units and provide them with the space they need to fulfill their missions. We also included $66 million to upgrade the helicopter operations facility at Minot Air Force Base, which is necessary as we work to replace the aging Huey helicopters.

“Additionally, we ensured that the VA continues to receive strong funding in order to provide the care and benefits our veterans have earned, and the legislation compliments the VA MISSION Act. That includes provisions we authored to ensure that veterans are better able to receive quality health and long-term care services in their local communities,” Hoeven continued.

Hoeven worked to secure the following priorities: 

Military Construction

  • Army National Guard Readiness Center in Fargo – The legislation provides $32 million for a Readiness Center that will house, support and train three Army National Guard units. The center will include unheated enclosed vehicle storage and space to accommodate elements of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 191st Military Police Company and the 112th Aviation Regiment. 
  • Upgraded Helicopter Operations Facility in Minot – Hoeven secured $66 million to construct a new aircraft maintenance unit, aircraft maintenance shelter, aircraft alert hanger and operations facility. The facility will support helicopter operations to secure the ICBM alert and launch facilities. The existing facilities are aging and will not accommodate the anticipated replacement of the Huey helicopters deployed at Minot Air Force Base.
  • Missile Alert Facilities (MAFs): The bill includes language directing the Air Force’s Global Strike Command to report as soon as possible on the need to recapitalize the MAFs, including requirements to modernize and upgrade those facilities and their commercial electrical power supplies to ensure the infrastructure is modernized alongside the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to replace the Minuteman III.

Supporting Our Veterans 

Hoeven also worked to ensure that the legislation supports the nation’s veterans. The bill provides increased funding to care for the nation’s veterans and supports initiatives to ensure they have access to health and long-term care closer to home. Specifically, the bill: 

  • Improves Access to Health and Long-Term Care Services Closer to Home:  Includes Hoeven language to help provide veterans with better access to health and long-term care services closer to home. 
    • The bill encourages the Department’s efforts to enter into provider agreements with non-VA long-term care providers, including skilled nursing facilities, in lieu of the current onerous Federal contracting requirements.
    • Includes Hoeven language stressing the importance of prompt payment and ensuring timely reimbursement for non-VA providers. It also directs the VA to facilitate the completion of any outstanding claims for payment.
    • The legislation also increases access for veterans in rural areas by providing $270 million for the Office of Rural Health, which is responsible for increasing access to care and services for veterans in rural areas.
  • Improves Veterans Mental Health Programs: Increases funding for veteran mental health services and veteran suicide prevention programs. The legislation also provides $40 million for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research through the National Center for PTSD.
  • Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment: The legislation includes $400 million for opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs. 
  • VA Caregivers Program: The bill provides $861 million to support veteran caregivers through training, educational resources, and other tools.  
  • Veterans Homelessness: Provides strong funding for homeless veterans’ assistance programs, including the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program.

The bill was approved by the full Appropriations Committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.