June 26, 2023

Bill would send $150 billion in military projects to NM

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich.

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 bill.

This bill includes $154.3 billion for projects in New Mexico, an increase of $164 million from the previous year.

“These major investments in military construction will ensure that service members at installations in New Mexico and across the globe are equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, facilities, family housing and resources needed to complete their missions,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, said in a press release. “This bipartisan bill will also enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the care and benefits that our military veterans deserve and have earned. I am proud that these investments in our military service members and veterans passed out of committee with strong bipartisan support.” 

Heinrich is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill includes $134.8 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There were nine construction projects chosen for funding  including $5,600,000 to renovate and expand the Guided Missile Building at White Sands Missile Range and $4,450,000 to construct a High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility fire station at White Sands Missile Range for which Heinrich advocated.

Both Heinrich and Democrat Sen. Ben Ray Luján advocated for the following: 

  • $24,400,000 to complete construction of the Wyoming Gate Project on Kirtland Air Force Base 
  • $8,200,000 to construct a headquarters fire station at White Sands Missile Range  
  • $4,300,000 to refurbish a health facility in Roswell, New Mexico, for statewide collective training, soldier combat-readiness, and combat-fitness test requirements for the New Mexico National Guard  
  • $3,600,000 for the planning and development of a new Access Control Point to replace the current El Paso Gate Access Control Point for White Sands Missile Range 
  • $3,000,600 to plan and design a new laboratory, operations, and administration facility at the Joint Directed Energy Test Center on White Sands Missile Range 
  • $2,000,000 to plan and design a new fire station and emergency communications center on Cannon Air Force Base   
  • $11,000,000 for the Rio Rancho National Guard Vehicle Maintenance Shop, in addition to the planning and design funding that Heinrich and Luján secured for this project in the FY23 Appropriations Funding Agreement.  

The appropriation awarded veteran support funding for access to healthcare for rural and tribal veterans by preventing the closure of Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, $15 million for rural veteran transportation to VA or VA-authorized facilities, $347.5 million to existing home-based primary care programs for veterans, $3.1 billion for homeless assistance, $164 million for construction grants for state extended care facilities, $938 million for VA medical and prosthetics research, $70 million for neurology-related Centers of Excellence and the addition of suicide prevention coordinators. There was not specific amount of funding listed for the suicide prevention coordinators.