Washington, DC—U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced today that the Senate is expected to pass a comprehensive spending package this weekend that will fund half of the federal agencies for the 2010 Fiscal Year and provide for important South Dakota priorities. The measure, known in Washington as the Minibus, will provide for military construction, health care and transportation projects across South Dakota. Once passed, the legislation, which has already passed the House, will move to the President for his signature.
“I am pleased that the Senate is expected to act quickly this weekend to pass this comprehensive package to fund the federal government for the upcoming Fiscal Year,” said Johnson, a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. “This bill not only keeps our nation’s promise to our veterans nationally, it also moves forward important economic development and transportation projects here at home.”
The bill contains six different funding measures, including Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Commerce-Justice-Science; the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD); Financial Services and General Government; and Foreign Operations appropriations bills.
As Chairman of the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs (VA) Subcommittee, Johnson fought to also secure $134.6 billion for national projects and programs of critical importance to America’s veterans and military troops and their families. Johnson also included a first-of-its-kind provision that would provide advance appropriations for the VA to ensure a stable and uninterrupted source of funding for medical care for veterans.
Johnson also used his position as Chairman to craft a $50 million national program for renovations to surplus facilities on VA medical campuses to provide housing and services for homeless veterans. The program will strengthen the VA’s goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans. Johnson also included $30 million to increase the number of Rural Community Based Outpatient Clinics in rural areas for veterans who do not have ready access to VA hospitals. This follows Johnson’s work last year to add $250 million to the VA budget to start a VA Rural Health Initiative.
Also included is a provision included by Johnson providing $323.2 million nationally for the Homeowners Assistance Program, which provides mortgage relief to military families who are required to relocate during the current mortgage crisis. This funding is $300 million above the President’s budget request.
To continue reading this release and to view a list of South Dakota projects in the comprehensive bill, click here.