(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump signed into law Friday an appropriations bill that will pay for renovations to U.S. military bases and give veterans the flexibility to see a private doctor when faced with long lines at the VA, thereby delivering on his campaign promise.
“Today, I'm honored to be at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center to sign into law a historic government funding bill that will renovate our nation’s military bases and provide great world-class care to our great veterans,” the president said.
“With this funding bill, we've increased the VA’s budget to the largest ever. We are delivering the resources needed to fully implement crucial VA reforms that, as you know, we've gotten,” Trump said, referring to the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriation Act of 2019 (H.R. 5895).
“Today, for the first time in American history, I am about to sign a bill that will fully and permanently give our great and cherished veterans choice, so you don't have to wait on line for 18 days to take care of a simple -- I mean, we had people waiting on line with a simple problem that, by the time they saw the doctor, they were terminally ill. No more of that,” he said.
“If you have a line, you go see a doctor. You get yourself taken care of. We take care of it,” the president said.
Trump said such a bill should have been easy for Congress to pass, but “there's a reason it took so many years. It wasn't easy. You have different groups and different people, but in the end, we all came together, and we got it done. VA Choice.”
The spending bill also addresses opioid treatment and prevention, “a big problem in this country,” Trump said. It also provides for “mental health care services, telemedicine ...and more than $1 billion for veterans electronic health records.”
“We’ve done a lot of work on health records, and now you’re able to transfer easily from Department of Defense to the VA, and back and forth. Before, it was almost impossible. It was a big thing,” he said.
“Today’s funding package also delivers for the men and women now serving in uniform. The legislation includes more than $10 billion to build, renovate, and repair houses, schools, training centers, and other facilities on military bases. They need it,” Trump said. “A lot time has gone by, and they’re in bad shape, but they’ll, very shortly, be in very good shape.
The president called it “terrific news for Nevada’s nearly 20,000 active-duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and National Guardsmen.” He said the government is providing nearly $100 million for the Creech Air Force Base, Nellis Air Force Base, and the National Guard Readiness Center in Nevada.
The bill also provides $15 billion for the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Weapons Security program, to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal “and keep the deadliest weapons from falling into the wrong hands.”
“Finally, we have secured $7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to build crumbling ports and waterways, and to keep and improve flood and storm barriers so that America remains safe,” the president added.