Cornyn: Veterans' Health Care must be top priority for Congress

Supports Passage of Bill Providing Key Funding for Texas Military Installations,
Increased Funding for Veterans

WASHINGTON-With the strong support of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate today passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for FY 2008.  The bill includes a significant increase in funding for veterans' health care and funds key military projects and installations in Texas.  The funding level in the bill includes an additional $4.0 billion, most of which will go towards veterans' health care, with an emphasis on research and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and stress disorders.

"Our service members and their families have chosen a difficult journey, often fraught with danger and uncertainty, to protect the freedom Americans so deeply treasure.  In return, it is our duty to ensure that every military service member, past and present, receives the best medical care America has to offer," Sen. Cornyn said.  "I've made clear in recent months that Congress must make a renewed commitment to strengthening veterans' health care.  This legislation does just that.  Importantly, it also focuses funding increases where they are needed most, particularly for enhanced research into the treatment of brain trauma, which is a primary injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns."

Also included in this legislation is $1.092 billion in critical BRAC funding for Texas military installations, including Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston.  In addition, the bill allocates $385.6 million in military construction funding for key projects and facilities in Texas.  Among the projects that were requested and secured by Sen. Cornyn, along with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, were $7.4 million for a child development center at Fort Hood and $15 million for a reserve center project at Ellington Field, near Houston.

"Texas is home to a number of military installations that are playing key roles in the war on terror and will protect America for years to come.  I will continue fighting to ensure they receive the funding and resources that they deserve," U.S. Sen. Cornyn said.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee's Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee's Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.