O’Halleran leads successful effort to protect Grand Canyon

Appropriations Bill includes increased funding for veterans healthcare

Contributed Article

WASHINGTON DC – On Thursday, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) voted to pass the FY 2019 Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Minibus. Included in the appropriations bill is language championed by O’Halleran that prevents $23 million from being moved out of the Upper Colorado River Basin Fund. The unexpected decision to withhold that money from the Fund would have jeopardized the Glen Canyon Adaptive Management Program, Grand Canyon Monitoring Research Center, and other programs vital to the long-term health of the Grand Canyon watershed and surrounding areas.

The legislation also includes increased funding for veteran healthcare and military construction projects, and it freezes Congressional salaries for the eighth consecutive year.

“I am pleased to see funding included in today’s appropriations bill to protect projects that preserve the water, land, and wildlife near the Grand Canyon and serve communities across Arizona,” Rep. O’Halleran said. “I thank the Appropriations Committee for taking my language into consideration as they drafted this legislation. It is a much-needed victory for rural Arizona.”

O’Halleran requested full funding for many veterans programs included in this appropriations bill, including the approved $206 million for veteran suicide prevention and outreach programs, $8.6 billion for mental health programs, and $2 billion for deferred maintenance and infrastructure repairs at VA medical facilities across the country.

“Our veterans served our nation honorably, and they deserve the best care from local VA clinics and hospitals across the state,” Rep. O’Halleran said. “Today, we funded programs that will improve that care and the facilities. Even one veteran suicide is too many, so I am glad Congress took the initiative to increase funding for suicide prevention and mental health programs. This is an important first step, and I am committed to working across the aisle to continue this work for our veterans.”

Read the letter O’Halleran sent to appropriators regarding the Upper Colorado River Basin Fund here.