Etheridge votes for military contruction bill

Washington, D.C. -— U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) supported increased North Carolina job creation and support for the nation’s veterans today with his vote for H.R. 5822, “The Military Construction/ VA Appropriations Bill for 2011.”

H.R. 5822 passed the House by a vote of 411-6 and will need to be passed in the Senate and signed by the President before funding is finalized.

“Construction and upgrades at our military bases benefit North Carolina’s economy and create jobs,” Etheridge said. “These funds will not only improve Fort Bragg, but it will also help us strengthen our communities and keep our commitment to our nation’s veterans.”

Military construction and improvement constitute a significant input for continued job creation in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District. H.R. 5822 provides $18.7 billion in funding for construction and improvements. Small businesses, especially local contractors, construction companies, restaurants, and other small businesses benefit from a multiplier effect from military spending in local economies.

With this funding, the VA will be able to accomplish its mission of providing quality medical care to over 6 million veterans in 2011, including more than 439,000 veterans of our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the bill, the bill also bolsters veterans care by including an unprecedented increase to support the processing of more than 1 million VA disability claims. More than 4,000 additional permanent claims processors, an increase of almost 25%, will target backlogged of veterans claims.

Specifically, the funding will be used to improve facilities for troops and military families at Fort Bragg, NC and will create jobs in the region. Projects include:

  • $161,000,000 for the Fort Bragg Brigade Complex;
  • $53,000,000 for a desperately needed new 82nd Airborne Headquarters;
  • $17,000,000 for Murchison Road expansion to improve traffic in the region; and
  • $45,086,000 to provide new elementary schools on base.
  • “Fort Bragg is one of the largest military bases in our country, and a vital contributor to our nation’s safety and security,” Etheridge said. “These investments will help our economy, make our military stronger and improve quality-of-life for Bragg’s soldiers, military families and our communities.”