District Two Congresswoman Nancy Boyda announced today that the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act includes $404 million to build a brand new hospital at Fort Riley.
Congresswoman Boyda said “This funding is a huge step in the right direction. The new hospital will improve the quality of life for our soldiers and their families by providing them with the best and most modern care available.”
The bill also includes $50 million for the Transitioning Warrior Support Complex at Fort Riley. The complex will better house wounded soldiers residing at the Northeast Kansas fort. The Emergency Supplemental also includes $4.6 billion for military construction projects including:
$939 million for BRAC; over $210 million for military child care centers that the President announced in the State of the Union but never funded; and, $992 million for military hospitals in Kansas, Georgia, and South Carolina.
The Supplemental Act also contains the new GI Bill, in honor of the hard work and sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform, and recognizes the debt America owes them for their service. The new GI Bill expands the education benefits veterans receive under the GI bill to restore the promise of a full, four-year college education, and make the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan part of an American economic recovery, just like the veterans of World War II were.
Also included, are extended unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their benefits by up to 13 weeks. The number of Americans looking for work has grown by 800,000 over the last year, and the number of American jobs has declined by 260,000 since the beginning of 2008.
The Supplemental would have provided $162.5 billion for the Department of Defense, funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the summer of 2009. However, a majority of Republicans failed to support the measure and it failed to pass the House. Representative Boyda voted in favor of the Defense Spending.
Attached is Rep. Boyda’s statement on the great news for Fort Riley.
REP. BOYDA’S STATEMENT ON NEW HOSPITAL FOR FORT RILEY
I have good news, great news for the soldiers and families at Ft. Riley. Today the House voted to provide $350 million to build a new hospital at Ft. Riley. This means better quality care for our soldiers and their families. This means less waiting time for needed medical care. This isn't just about dollars and cents for a new building, this is about respect for the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make everyday for our country.
Irwin Army Community Hospital has served our Ft. Riley troops well for over 50 years. Over 50 years! But with 10,000 additional soldiers coming to the Riley/Geary County area, Irwin Army Hospital is simply not adequate to care for our growing ranks of soldiers and their growing families.
Last January, I invited the Chairman of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Chairman Chet Edwards to come to Kansas for the first time. We toured the hospital and spoke with medical staff. Most importantly, we had a listening session with 12 spouses of enlisted servicemen. 12 wives and lots of kids! Access to health care was their primary concern and their personal stories had such a strong impact on Chet and on me. That's why we have worked together with the Army over the last several months to improve healthcare for the families of Ft. Riley.
Those wives might not have known it at the time, but they played a key role in the decision to fund this hospital now instead of waiting until 2013, or even later. Our nation's military spouses may not put on a uniform, but believe me, they serve our country every day.
Democracy is a team sport and this decision had an All Star team behind it. Of course, MilCon Approps Chairman Chet Edwards and HASC Chairman Ike Skelton were incredibly helpful. This would not have happened without their support. Ft. Riley CG, Major General Bob Durbin has taken an active, hands-on role to get the healthcare problem solved. His leadership and determination to fix this problem have been instrumental. The Surgeon General of the Army, General Eric Schoomaker has become personally involved, as has the President of Tri-West, David McIntyre. I am deeply appreciative of several working meetings both in DC and in Kansas to fix these problems.
No matter how Kansans feel about the war, they are united in their support of our troops and their families. I am so pleased that our deep respect of the sacrifice that they make every day is being honored by providing much improved healthcare for them and their families.
While this is great news, this still must pass through the Senate and be signed into law by the President. I am hopeful that this will happen soon.