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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) helped pass critical spending legislation in the Senate that funds veterans care and military construction projects in 2008. The bill includes a major spending increase - $3.6 billion over what President Bush had requested - for veterans care.  The bill also provides $632.5 million for military construction projects located in Washington state.  The bill, which Murray helped shape as a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations (MILCON/VA) Subcommittee, passed the full Senate by a vote of 92-1. 

Prior to voting for the legislation, Senator Murray delivered a speech on the Senate floor urging support for the bill. Murray has been a leader in the Senate in the fight to include the needs of our veterans as a cost of war.

Read Senator Murray’s floor speech

Veterans Funding

The bill sets total veterans spending for 2008 at more than $87 billion which represents nearly all of the Independent Budget which is put together by Veterans Service Organizations and is an increase of nearly $10 billion over the VA spending bill approved last year by the Republican-led Senate.

"After years of neglect, our government is again honoring our veterans’ sacrifices," Murray said on the Senate floor. "This bill takes into account the additional strains on the VA system that simultaneous wars and new battlefield realties present…It invests in improving health care, expanding mental health services, and constructing new facilities. It will mean more qualified health care workers, better prosthetics, and more accessible veteran's facilities."

Senator Murray also included language in the bill that instructs the VA to take important steps to bring VA facilities closer to veterans in Washington state. The language pertains to existing and planned VA facilities in Northwest Washington, Wenatchee, and Walla Walla.

Military Construction Projects

The legislation that passed the Senate today also includes $635.2 million for projects located throughout Washington state. In the bill, which Senator Murray helped to shape as a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, Murray included $10.9 million to construct a new facility at Naval Station Everett that will train more than 10,000 sailors. 

“I’m very pleased with the investment that this bill makes in Washington state’s military facilities” said Senator Murray. “It’s a recognition of the critical role our state’s instillations play in our nation’s security. This funding will help to improve our service members’ quality of life, enhance training, and invest in the future of facilities that many Washington state communities depend on.”

The bill passed by the Senate today included $635.2 million for investments at Washington state military facilities:

  • Fort Lewis                  $364.6 million
  • Yakima                       $29 million
  • Bangor                        $39.75 million
  • Bremerton                  $167 million
  • Whidbey Island         $23.9 million
  • NS Everett                  $10.94 million

See more information on the funding Senator Murray has included for Naval Station Everett

Differences between the Senate and House versions of the spending bill will now be resolved by a conference committee. The bill will then be voted on and sent to the President for his signature.