WASHINGTON – Following the most recent meeting of his Sixth District Veterans Coalition on Monday, June 10th, Congressman Andy Barr released the following statement:

“I am honored and humbled to represent the brave men and women who have fought on behalf of our country to secure our freedoms.  I am glad to host these meetings of the Sixth District Veterans Coalition, which allow dozens of coalition members and I to discuss issues of importance to Kentucky veterans and share information regarding my efforts in Congress to help our nation’s troops, veterans, and military families.

“On May 8th, I had the opportunity to testify before the House Armed Services Committee in support of our Active, Guard and Reserve components.  I asked the Committee to continue support for military suicide prevention programs, proper funding for our National Guard, change the Prime Service Areas affecting TRICARE Prime participants, and advocated for full funding of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity that impacts the total operations at Bluegrass Army Depot in Richmond, KY.

“Last week, I voted for H.R. 2216, the FY 14 Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, a bipartisan bill that continues our commitment to our veterans and military facilities.  

“I am pleased that H.R. 2216 will fully fund the amount requested to continue the construction of the Ammunition Demilitarization Facility located at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky.  H.R. 2216 also ensures the continuation of tuition assistance for our service members and veterans through full funding of the post 911-GI Bill so they may receive the higher education they need to continue to excel.  I am also very pleased that H.R. 2216 sets aggressive measures to help resolve the shameful VA disability claims backlog by starting the process of increasing efficiency and removing the barriers our veterans face in receiving benefits.  This bill is a step in the right direction, but I will continue working to ensure that our veterans are receiving the benefits they earned in a timely manner.

“The Sixth District Veterans Coalition, which my office founded, provides invaluable input and guidance.  It gives veterans of the Sixth Congressional District a direct line of communication to their representative in Congress and serves as a proactive partnership that works to address veterans’ issues on both the local and national level.”

More information on H.R. 2216, the Appropriations on Military Construction & Veterans Affairs:

Provides $73.3 billion in discretionary spending to support the military and their families and to provide for the benefits and medical care for our nation’s veterans. 

  • $63.1 billion is authorized in support of veterans programs.  This includes $43.6 billion to support veteran medical treatment, including funding for traumatic brain injury, suicide prevention, mental health, and rural health initiatives
  • $9.954 billion for military construction, including $122.5 million to support the Blue Grass Army Depot’s Ammunition Demilitarization Facility.

Begins to Address the VA’s biggest problems:

  • Implements strict reporting requirements to track the progress on reducing VA disability claims.
  • Boosts funding authorization to process disability claims and reduce disability claims backlog. 
  • Authorizes $344 million to help coordinate DoD-VA electronic health records.