CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, September 20, 2011, the House is scheduled consider H.R. 2646 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) on July 26, 2011, and referred to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. On September 8, 2011, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a markup session and ordered H.R. 2646, as amended, by a voice vote to be reported.
According to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, H.R. 2646, the Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, would authorize a major medical facility project in Seattle, WA, in an amount not to exceed $51,800,000 and in West Los Angeles, CA, in an amount not to exceed $35,500,000.
Additionally, the bill would modify the authorization for the following major medical facility projects previously authorized:
1. Fayetteville, AR, increasing the authorization amount from $56,163,000 to $90,600,000;
2. Orlando, FL, including the addition of a Simulation, Learning, Education, and Research Network Center;
3. Palo Alto, CA, authorizing an amount not to exceed $716,600,000,
4. San Juan, PR, increasing the authorization amount from $225,900,000 to $277,000,000; and
5. St. Louis, MO, increasing the authorization amount from $69,053,000 to $346,300,000;
The bill would also authorize major medical facility leases for Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in Columbus, GA, in an amount not to exceed $5,335,000; Salem, OR in an amount not to exceed $2,549,000; Springfield, MO, in an amount not to exceed $6,489,000 and Outpatient Clinics (OC) in Fort Wayne, IN, in an amount not to exceed $2,845,000; Mobile, AL, in an amount not to exceed $6,565,000; Rochester, NY, in an amount not to exceed $9,232,000; San Jose, CA, in an amount not to exceed $9,546,000; and South Bend, IN, in an amount not to exceed $6,731,000.
The bill would also modify requirements for information the Department of Veterans Affairs must provide to Congress when seeking authorization for a major medical facility project or lease.
Finally, the bill would extend certain expiring authorities related to recovery audits for certain contracts, treatment and rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans, additional services for seriously mentally ill and homeless veterans, housing assistance for homeless veterans, the Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans, through December 31, 2012; and the authority to transfer real property, through December 31, 2018.
According to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, current law requires Congressional authorization for VA major medical facility projects and major medical facility leases.
A major medical facility project is defined as a project involving construction, alteration, or acquisition of a medical facility involving a total expenditure of more than $10,000,000. A major medical facility lease is defined as a lease for space for use as a new medical facility at an average annual rental of more than $1,000,000.
Along with each major medical facility project or lease funding request, current law also requires VA to submit a prospectus of the proposed medical facility to include a detailed description of the medical facility and an estimate of the cost for the construction, alteration, lease, or other acquisition as well as an estimate of the cost of the equipment required for operation of such facility, demographic data, current and projected workload and utilization data, current and projected operating costs, the priority score assigned to the project under the VA's prioritization methodology, and a description of each alternative that was considered in the case of a new or replacement medical ideology.
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $1.2 billion over the 2012-2016 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. CBO estimates that enacting the bill would have no effect on direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.