When Congress returns from its Memorial Day break, House and Senate negotiators will begin to reconcile bills to provide tens of billions of dollars for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Much of the public focus is on provisions dealing with prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But each measure also includes about $4 billion for construction, though the funding mix differs.
The $96.9-billion House bill, passed 368-60 on May 14, would provide $3.2 billion for Dept. of Defense construction, including about $1.1 billion for hospitals. Appropriators didn’t specify which hospital projects should be funded but directed DOD to submit a spending plan. The House bill did include $263.3 million to speed hospital construction in Bethesda, Md., and Fort Belvoir, Va., to replace Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.