United States

MilConVA passage connects Cherry Point to $270M

(The Center Square) – More than $270 million toward construction projects for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point is pending passage within the MilConVA legislation.

Members of the Senate are next to consider the Fiscal Year 2025 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that cleared the House of Representatives 209-197. If the upper chamber agrees, President Joe Biden’s signature would be next for the annual appropriation bill.

“Everyone knows how military-friendly eastern North Carolina is and the pride we have in our servicemembers, their families, and our cherished veterans,” said U.S. Rep. Dr. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., who represents the area inclusive of the MCAS Cherry Point, MCAS Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River.

For Cherry Point, the proposal includes $114.02 million for a composite repair facility; $106 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar; and $50 million for the F-35 Aircraft Sustainment Center. Camp Lejeune is ticketed for $25.4 million for the Marine Forces Special Operations Command Armory, colloquiclayy known as MARSOC Armory.

Another $19 billion is going to the Department of Veterans Affairs mental health programs, with $3 billion of that for suicide prevention.

In addition to individual installations, the legislation impacts veterans; national security; and has prohibitions on the executive branch advancing both critical race theory and orders on diversity, equity and inclusion.

House Resolution 8580 also stops taxpayer dollars for abortion; prevents the VA from sending information to the FBI about veterans without a judge’s consent; and will not allow the VA to process medical care claims for people who have illegally entered or are illegally living in the country.

“I am honored to be their fighting voice in Washington, ensuring robust support for our military and that our veteran community receives the care they have earned,” Murphy said. “I’m grateful for the hard-fought success in securing critical funding for our military operations and directing the VA to better serve our veterans, especially those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.”

Camp Lejeune is home to II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Installations East and Special Operations Command. Marines handle expeditionary deployments for combat and humanitarian missions. About 37,000 active duty military and 5,500 civilian employees are employed.

Cherry Point is home of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing is aviation combat element of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Fleet Readiness Center East. There are about 6,400 active duty military personnel and about 5,300 civilian employees.

New River, just down U.S. 17 from Camp Lejeune, is home of rotary-wing and tilt-rotor operations supporting the Marine Corps Aviation Combat Element. It’s the largest assault support training facility on the East Coast. There are about 6,000 active duty military personnel and close to 200 civilian employees.

Congressional voting was along party lines. North Carolina Republican Reps. Virginia Foxx, David Rouzer, Dan Bishop, Richard Hudson, Patrick McHenry and Chuck Edwards voted “yea” with Dr. Greg Murphy, recovering from surgery, not voting. Democratic Reps. Don Davis, Deborah Ross, Valerie Foushee, Kathy Manning, Alma Adams, Wiley Nickel and Jeff Jackson all voted “nay.”

“The first appropriations bill we voted on this past week includes spending for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring our military has the tools and resources they need to defend our country and our brave veterans are taken care of after their service to our nation,” Rouzer said.

The dozen annual appropriation bills are about 25% of the federal budget, a release says. The other 75% is debt service and entitlement spending, Rouzer said, noting the latter as the “primary driver of the national debt.”

Rouzer’s 7th Congressional District includes Fort Liberty, largest military base measured by population in the world.

The document is $75.5 million above President Joe Biden’s budget request for veterans’ health care, benefits and VA programs. This includes related needs to toxic exposures. There’s $412 million above the president’s budget request related to national security in the Indo-Pacific region, and maintaining prohibitions on closure of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Overall funding in the bill is $378.6 billion.

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