By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, April 27, US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) announced that an appropriations bill that will fund upgrades to military bases in Alabama and improve veterans benefits has passed out of committee and comes before the full US House of Representatives this week.
Congresswoman Roby wrote to constituents, “This week the House will consider H.R. 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill, which we passed out of Committee last week, includes much-needed funding for projects on our own military installations in Alabama and also for veterans benefits and programs.”
Rep. Roby wrote that the bill contains: $47 million for new school construction to replace aging facilities at Fort Rucker; $33 million for new school construction to repair and replace aging classrooms at Maxwell Air Force Base; and $7.6 million for a new Squadron Operations Facility at Dannelly Field.
Rep. Roby said, “If you’ve been on base at Maxwell or on post at Fort Rucker lately, you know some of the schools are in disrepair and badly need replacing. Our military families deserve quality on-base education facilities, and these projects will go a long way toward improving what we offer.”
The conservative congresswoman continued, “I’m glad we can construct a new Squadron Operations Facility for the Alabama Air National Guard out at Dannelly Field. They need the space, and it further enhances our operational assets there.”
Rep. Roby said, “On the VA side, the bill prioritizes mental health services, suicide prevention and traumatic head injury treatment. We also included funding and accountability requirements to swiftly diminish the disability claims processing backlog.”
Rep. Roby also addressed the well document VA Healthcare problems in Alabama: “We all know funding alone isn’t going to fix the VA, especially not in Central and South Alabama. That’s why I took this opportunity to begin laying the groundwork for a major legislative effort to compel the VA Secretary to intervene at facilities like ours.”
Rep. Roby continued, “When a school perpetually fails to meet basic standards, the State Department of Education steps in to take charge. We need a similar mechanism at the VA when medical centers continually fail our veterans. We are studying the best legislative approach to move forward, but I made sure to insert language into the bill’s Committee Report that lays the groundwork for this VA ‘takeover mechanism.’”
Congresswoman Roby concludes, “This bill delivers critical funding for military personnel and veterans while remaining within the strict spending constraints of the House Budget Resolution. It’s also very good for Alabama, and I will work this week to move it successfully through the legislative process. I’ll keep you updated as we proceed.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. This is Representative Roby’s Third term in the United States Congress.