Hoeven Works to Support Veterans, Keep Military Strong

U.S. Senate Passes Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriation Bill

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has passed the FY 2012 appropriation previously approved by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. The measure will provide greater security for veterans and stronger infrastructure for America’s military. The $142 billion funding package includes provisions for the Minot Air Force Base and a range of veterans services in North Dakota and western Minnesota. 

“It is vitally important, even as we seek ways to control our debt and deficit, to sustain our nation’s commitment to a strong military and quality care for our veterans,” Hoeven said. “The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill we passed on the Senate floor today reflects our continued pledge to care for our men and women in uniform.” 

The measure appropriates $67.8 million for three projects at the Minot Air Force Base, including a $34 million B-52, Two-Bay Phase Maintenance Dock; an $11.8 million B-52, 3-Bay Conventional Munitions Maintenance Facility; and a $22 million 168-room dormitory. 

It also provides funding to reduce backlogs of veterans’ claims, and to expand access to benefits for veterans in rural areas and women service members. The appropriation maintains support for nine regional outpatient clinics, seven in North Dakota and two in Minnesota, and funds an ongoing $7.9 million renovation project at the Fargo Veterans Hospital. Last year, more than 30,000 veterans made more than 200,000 visits to the hospital and the region’s nine outpatient clinics, Hoeven said. 

Senator Hoeven was in Fargo earlier this month to host U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Shinseki toured the newly opened Gladys Ray Veterans Drop-In Center, which provides shelter for homeless veterans, and met with the leadership of some of North Dakota veteran service organizations. One of the goals of the VA is to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015, an effort partially funded by the appropriations bill passed today. 

Hoeven serves on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.