In its first action on fiscal 2016 spending bills, the Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended large boosts for Dept. of Defense construction and Dept. of Veterans Affairs major projects. It gave a tiny increase to the Army Corps of Engineers civil-works program.
The committee on May 21 cleared a measure that would provide $8.1 billion for FY16 DOD construction, up $1.5 billion, or 23%, from this year's appropriations. The same bill includes $1 billion for VA major projects, an 83% boost from 2015. Major projects are those that cost $10 million or more. The biggest items are $161 million for seismic corrections to a Long Beach, Calif., facility and $158 million for a seismic retrofit and replacement of existing buildings in San Francisco.
The House-passed DOD-VA spending measure is less generous: It includes $7.6 billion for military construction and freezes VA major projects at the 2015 level of $562 million. Senate appropriators also approved a bill to fund energy and water programs. It has $5.5 billion for Corps civil works, up less than 1% from 2015. The House-approved version provides $5.6 billion for civil works. The Senate panel's bill also includes $5.2 billion for Energy Dept. defense environmental cleanup, up $180 million from 2015 and $124 million above the House figure.