Senate Passes Military Construction and VA Appropriations Bill With Hawai‘i Priorities
Senator Schatz Worked to Include $444 Million for Military Construction in Hawai‘i
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2016. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, worked to include $444 million for military construction projects across Hawai‘i.
“The $444 million in funding for military construction projects that the Senate approved today reflects the long-term investment that the Department of Defense is making in Hawai‘i,” said Senator Schatz. “Our location, training environment, and knowledge of the Asia Pacific are central to the Defense Department’s strategic engagement in the region. This appropriations bill ensures that the military will have the facilities, capabilities, and infrastructure it needs to sustain Hawai‘i’s role in America’s long-term rebalance to the Asia Pacific.”
The Senate bill also includes language that Senator Schatz secured that would grant the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the authority to enter in cooperative agreements with entities to train and employ at-risk veterans in natural resource conservation management.
“There are promising careers in conservation management for our veterans. Whether it is to fight wildfires, restore coastlines, or protect forests, veterans have skills that can be put to work in every part of the country,” said Senator Schatz. “The VA has experience and expertise in the care of veterans and providing services that support their transition to a civilian life. The authority this language provides will allow the VA to match up veterans not only with important services, but also with programs that will put them on a solid career path moving forward.”
Funding for Hawai‘i military construction projects in the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill is approximately $200 million above the enacted FY 2015 omnibus bill.
Projects in Hawai‘i include:
- $123.8 million for a new Behavioral Health and Dental Clinic at Schofield Barracks that will help improve the capacity of the base to help service members get care they need; and
- $122.1 million to replace a Medical/Dental Clinic at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay which would improve health services for service members and their families.
- $30.6 million to consolidate the electric grid at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, a crucial step toward ensuring that the base can manage its load requirements to support Ballistic Missile Defense testing and other Navy missions;
- $46.0 million for a new F-22 fighter alert facility at Hickam-Pearl Harbor to strengthen the readiness of the Hawai‘i Air National Guard;
- $6.3 million for an electrical interconnect project at Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
- $8.5 million for a new covered welding school shop at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard that will permit use even during inclement weather; and
- A number of additional improvements at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, including $12.4 million for a new facility to support P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft that will rotate through Hawai‘i, $68 million for a new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and $26.1 million to modernize lighting on the airfield.
For more information on this legislation or to request a media interview with Senator Schatz, please contact Karen Lightfoot at Karen_Lightfoot@schatz.senate.gov.