House Passes Military, VA Bill with Funding for NS Everett and NAS Whidbey

Nov 7, 2007

Washington, D.C.— Late last night, The House passed a House-Senate agreement on military construction and veterans funding which includes appropriations for Snohomish and Island counties secured by U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). The bill passed the House by a vote of 269 to 142.  To become law, these appropriations must either be signed by the President or pass both Houses of Congress by veto-proof majorities.

The Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill provides the largest funding increase for veterans health care in history to strengthen quality care for 5.8 million patients, including many of the 75,000 veterans who call Northwest Washington home.  These resources will help reduce the backlog of veterans (400,000 claims) waiting for their earned benefits by adding 1,800 claims processors, help provide much-needed maintenance for VA health care facilities, and invest in treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for returning veterans. For men and women currently serving in the armed forces, the funding bill provides resources for better barracks, housing and training facilities through an unprecedented $21.5 billion investment in military construction, family housing, and BRAC.

Larsen helped secure the following appropriations for Northwest Washington:

$10.9 Million for a Fleet Region Readiness Center for Naval Station Everett
The final funding bill includes $10.9 million for a 28,430 square foot training center to support surface ship training.  The readiness center will support sailors assigned to five DDG Destroyers, two Frigates and the USS Abraham Lincoln, and will also provide training courses not currently available in the region. 

“This funding will help provide training opportunities at Naval Station Everett that weren’t there before,” said Larsen. “I am confident that building infrastructure like this will make Naval Station Everett even more attractive for new Naval assets in the future.”

$10.6 Million for an Indoor Aircraft Washrack for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Three hundred and ninety-one aircraft are washed each year at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.  It takes as many as 12 sailors three hours each to wash one of these planes. These sailors must do so during periods of rain, gale force winds and low winter temperatures.  These resources will fund an interior washrack at NAS Whidbey so that planes can be washed indoors.  Larsen secured this funding last year as well, but it never became law as the Republican Congress failed to pass the military appropriations bill.

“An indoor washrack will not only lengthen the service life of the planes at NAS Whidbey, but will also help make the quality of life even better for the sailors stationed there,” said Larsen.