Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Focuses on Supporting Servicemembers, Veterans, and Military Families Reflected in Annual Funding Bill

July 24, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced successful efforts to secure funding for a variety of priorities which were included in the Fiscal Year 2021 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill. In total, the bill allocates $250.9 billion to bolster support systems for military personnel, their families, and retired servicemembers. The bill will now be included as part of a combined appropriations bill to be considered by the House of Representatives today.
“One of my most sacred responsibilities in Congress is ensuring that our military men and women and their families are honored for their service and sacrifice. The projects supported by this bill — ranging from child development centers to supporting homeless veterans — will allow us to update existing services and use technology to improve our veterans healthcare system,”  said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Our veterans, including those in Hawai‘i, will get expanded access to VA care as this bill invests in programs targeted toward rural areas and the Pacific Basin. The military construction projects included in this bill will enhance the readiness of our forces in Hawai‘i and provide necessary safety upgrades for military facilities on the islands.”
Rep. Gabbard pushed to obtain funding to improve the infrastructure of military installations in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. Initiatives central to this objective include:
  • Facilitating a report on firefighting capacity and resources on DoD installations located in noncontiguous states and territories.
  • Up to $1.1 billion for the Hawai‘i Infrastructure Readiness Initiative, which addresses several major facility and infrastructure deficiencies on Hawai‘i’s military installations.
  • $49 million for improvements of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam waterfront wharves S1, S11-13, S20-21.
  • $66 million for improvements of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam waterfront wharves S8-S10.
  • $39 million for the Schofield Barracks Child Development Center and $58 million for the Fort Shafter Child Development Center, funding that will increase access to safe and licensed child care for military families.
  • $1.9 million for the Native American Veteran Housing Loan Program which provides loans to Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives for the purpose of buying or improving houses on trust lands.
  • $84.1 million for the American Battle Monuments Commission which preserves and rehabilitates American Battle Monuments around the world. 
  • Encouraging the continued research, investment, and construction of renewable energy sources on military installations. 
  • $89 million for maintenance of the aircraft maintenance hangar at Wheeler Army Airfield.
Rep. Gabbard understands the importance of health services for members of the military and their families. Some of the programs she helped facilitate include: 
  • $300 million for the Office of Rural Health which provides healthcare for more than 3 million veterans who live in remote areas. The program is especially beneficial for veterans who live in Hawai‘i who would otherwise have to travel by air to receive proper medical care. 
  • $1.33 billion for telehealth and connected care, which is essential to the VA’s push to expand care options for those in rural and underserved communities, including Veterans in rural communities in Hawai‘i.
  • Expanding health care opportunities for veterans in the Freely Associated States (FAS) of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and Republic of Palau (ROP).
  • Research on the use of cannabis as an alternative treatment focused on veterans. 
  • Increasing funding for HUD-VA Supportive Housing case managers who work with veterans to overcome barriers to housing. 
  • $2 billion for VA homeless assistance programs including the Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD), Health Care for Homeless Vets (HCHV), the Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans, the Supportive Services for Low Income Veterans and Families (SSVF), Justice Outreach Homeless Prevention, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development-Department of Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD–VASH) programs, which provide homeless Veterans with support and care while facilitating their transition into a stable housing situation. 
  • $198 million for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals which conducts hearings regarding eligibility of veterans for VA services. 
  • $10.3 billion for mental health programs, including $2 billion for suicide prevention and treatment programs.
  • Continuing the use of the Veterans Crisis Line which provides Veterans with critical care and resources in times of need. 
  • Mandating a VA report on plans to construct long-term specialty care for Veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury. 
  • $840 million for VA prosthetics and medical research to better improve Veterans’ health and quality of life.
  • Encouraging the VA to establish partnerships with non-government institutions to explore methods to increase the quality of care for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islander Veterans.
  • Investing in multi-hazard resilient defense infrastructure planning, development, and testing by prohibiting the use of funds to construct non-resilient buildings.
  • Improving the Veterans First contracting program which supports Veteran-owned small businesses competing for VA contracts.
  • $80 million for the Navy to accelerate environmental remediation at closed installations. 
Additional Hawai‘i projects supported by this bill include:
  • Mandating a report on construction delays and future plans for major medical leases across the nation, including the Advanced Leeward Outpatient Healthcare Access (ALOHA) Project that will open a 66,000 square foot leased facility to better serve Veterans in Hawai‘i and those enrolled in the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System.
  • Mandating an assessment of parking facilities for the Tripler Army Medical Center given its insufficient parking capacity according to DoD’s own assessment formula and its inaccessibility by public transportation.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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