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Key Rubio Provisions Included in Milcon-VA Appropriations Bill
Washington, DC – The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill, which included key provisions advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would benefit veterans and Florida military installations. The bill also includes resources for Eglin Air Force Base, MacDill Air Force Base, Patrick Air Force Base, Naval Station Mayport, and Hurlburt Field.
Rubio provisions included in the 2018 MilCon-VA Appropriations bill:
Department of Veterans Affairs
University-based medical clinics – Directs the VA to conduct a study to determine whether patient outcomes at university-based medical clinics are a viable option for providing PTSD treatment to veterans.
Compensation claims – Requires that none of the funds appropriated to the VA be used for the purpose of organizing or using groups of subject matter experts to evaluate compensation claims under the laws administered by the VA secretary.
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) appeals – Directs the VA secretary to fully implement the GAO’s recommendation to improve the timeliness of the VA’s disability benefits appeals decisions and to document its progress in its monthly reports to the committee on appeals claims processing performance.
Substance inspection programs – Directs the secretary to fully implement GAO’s recent recommendations to improve oversight of the controlled substance inspection program.
Department of Defense
Launch support and infrastructure modernization – Requests that the secretary of defense provide a report on the plan for the implementation of the launch support and infrastructure modernization program. This report shall include a description of plans and the resources needed to improve launch support infrastructure, utilities, support equipment, and range operations; a description of plans to streamline and normalize processes, systems, and products at the eastern and western ranges, to ensure consistency for range users; and recommendations for improving transparency, flexibility, and responsiveness in launch scheduling.
Navy strategic laydown and dispersal – Stipulates that the Navy program military construction funding for necessary infrastructure to achieve strategic dispersal of its fleet, including the homeporting of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
Hydrant Fuel Systems in Support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations – Requests that the department prioritize construction and enhancement of systems in locations that serve as staging bases for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB) – Directs the secretary of defense to submit a comprehensive MRTFB modernization plan outlining a timetable and specific actions for repair, replacement and renovation of infrastructure, equipment and instrumentation at mission-critical facilities.