Recent Press Releases

Thune Announces Increased Funding for Veterans Health Care

Senate Passes Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Year 2008

September 6, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today issued the following statement regarding the approval of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as passed by the Senate in the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. The Senate-passed bill provides $87.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is $3.6 billion more than the amount requested by the President. This is equal to an 8 percent increase over last year's record funding levels.

"Our nation's veterans have given so much to our country, and it is our obligation to see that their service is properly honored," said Thune. "This includes meeting the medical needs of our veterans, and this bill provides an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year for veterans medical services, with particular emphasis on mental health services for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing the sacrifices that so many have made in defense of our nation."

The bill appropriates $37 billion for the Veteran's Health Administration.

Medical Services: $29 billion, a $3.4 billion increase (or 11.5%) over last year's funding level.

Medical Administration: $3.6 billion, a $214 million increase (or 6.2%) over last year's funding level.

Medical Facilities: $4.1 billion, a $522 million increase over last year's funding level.

Medical and Prosthetic Research: $500 million, an $86 million (or 12 percent) increase over last year's funding level.

The bill also funds military construction projects throughout the world. Senator Thune worked to fund several important South Dakota projects, including:

Civil Engineer Maintenance Complex: $7.9 million, South Dakota National Guard, Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls.

Civil Engineer Administrative Facility: $16.6 million, Ellsworth Air Force Base.

South Dakota Joint Armed Forces Reserve Center: $3.7 million, Sioux Falls.

The House version of the bill did not include any funding for the Civil Engineer Maintenance Complex in Sioux Falls or the Civil Engineer Administrative Facility at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Senate and the House of Representatives will now work to resolve the differences between the two bills before a final bill is sent to the President for his signature.