Panel beefs up funds for military housing and medical needs

A House subcommittee on Thursday gave quick voice-vote approval to a $10.5 billion military construction bill for fiscal 2002, providing substantial increases to housing and medical facilities for the nation's armed forces.

Military Construction Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson, R-Ohio, said the bill mostly follows the guidelines laid out in the massive defense authorization bill (H.R. 2586) that was approved by the House Armed Services Committee on Aug. 1. Hobson noted there were some technical changes to his spending bill that had been approved by the authorizing committee, as well as an increase of $39 million for overseas military housing.

Overall, the legislation is more than $1.5 billion over what was approved for fiscal 2001 and nearly $500 million more than what the president requested for the military construction budget. "We're proud of what we've done, though there's more to do in the future," said Hobson.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $5.9 billion for military construction accounts, including $1.2 billion for barracks, $823 million for the National Guard and Reserve, $199 million for hospital and medical facilities and $43 million for child development centers.
  • $4.1 billion for family housing, including $2.9 billion for operation and maintenance of existing units and $1.1 billion for new units and improvements.
  • $545 million for environmental restoration and caretaker costs associated with base closures.
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