H.R. 4590, Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Veterans Affairs Seismic Safety and Construction Authorization Act, as amended

H.R. 4590

Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Veterans Affairs Seismic Safety and Construction Authorization Act, as amended

Date
June 21, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4590, the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Veterans Affairs Seismic Safety and Construction Authorization Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on Feburary 23, 2016, by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, on February 25, 2016 by voice vote.

 

Bill Summary

H.R. 4590 authorizes major VA medical facility construction projects and leases for Fiscal Year 2016. Specifically, the legislation authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out FY16 major medical facility projects in: San Francisco, California; West Los Angeles, California; Long Beach, California; Alameda, California; Livermore, California; Perry Point, Maryland; and American Lake, Washington.  Additionally, the legislation requires VA provide a line item accounting and justification of construction management expenditures and future amounts budgeted to be obligated for construction management, as well as report on any reimbursement agreements entered into by VA regarding the Army Corps of Engineers management for these projects.

Background

The Fiscal Year 2016 VA Budget Submission requested funding for seven major medical facility projects to correct known seismic, infrastructure, and life-safety deficiencies in existing VA building; increase access to care for veteran patients; reduce congestion on VA medical facility campuses by adding extra parking spaces; demolish unused structures; and consolidate clinical research space.[1]

In 2003, Congress authorized VA to carry out advance planning for a major medical facility project – to be operated jointly with the Department of Defense – in Denver, Colorado, in an amount not to exceed $30 million. In 2006, Congress authorized the VA to construct a standalone replacement medical center in Denver in an amount not to exceed $98 million. That number was later raised to $568.4 million in 2008 and then $800 million in 2010. In 2010, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals found the VA to be in breach of its contract, and the VA subsequently requested an additional $830 million in funding, which after a small adjustment, resulted in a final total   authorization of $1.675 billion.  Congress authorized the funds and required VA transferred management of the project from the VA to the Army Corps of Engineers.  Additionally Congress established what is termed a “super” construction project – any major construction project initially estimated to cost $100 million or more.  Super construction projects are to be managed by a third party entity.  In the case of the seven projects to be authorized in this bill, all exceed the $100 million threshold with the exception of the Perry Point, MD project.  The Army Corps of Engineers will now manage these projects, not the VA.  To avoid double counting of management expenses, this bill requires VA to account for all construction management costs associated with these projects.

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[1] See House Report 114-545 at 5.

Cost

The amended version of H.R. 4590 would only authorize the major construction projects in which appropriations have already been provided. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that H.R. 4590, as amended, would have no mandatory or revenue effects.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.