Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released all 12 draft FY 2023 Senate appropriations bills this morning, including text of the draft MilCon-VA spending bill and the accompanying explanatory statement and bill summary.
The bill provides a total of $916 million (+$24 million over FY 2022, +3.85%) for the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program in FY 2023. This is in alignment with the FY 2023 president’s budget request and falls below the House-passed $926 million investment.
As a reminder, the Senate draft bills were crafted by the chairs of the 12 subcommittees as the Senate has yet to agree to topline funding for the FY 2023 budget. In his press statement, Leahy noted, “It is my goal to finish our work before the end of the 117th Congress to avoid these consequences. I look forward to continuing to work with my dear friend, Vice Chairman Shelby, and I encourage good faith, bipartisan negotiations on toplines to resume with the urgency that this moment requires.”
Leahy added, “Enacting full year bills as soon as possible is imperative. A long-term continuing resolution, which continues prior fiscal year funding levels, during the record inflationary pressures the country is currently experiencing would result in devastating cuts to programs that the American people rely on and for our national security.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) issued a press statement in response to the release of the draft FY 2023 bills. “If we are going to get full year bills during this Congress, Democrats must commit to a bipartisan framework that abandons poison pills, preserves legacy riders, and demonstrates a serious commitment to our military. Wasteful, off-budget spending that fuels inflation will be a non-starter. Today’s effort shows we have a long way to go. Democrats need to get serious or, regrettably, I believe we will end up with a long-term CR,” Shelby said.
No additional action in the House or Senate on the FY 2023 spending bills are expected before the chambers recess for the month of August.