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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

House Appropriations Committee Includes Meng Initiatives in Defense and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills

Jul 7, 2017
Press Release
Congresswoman’s provisions aim to increase diversity in the military, provide employment opportunities to recently discharged service members, and expand the availability of U.S. Capitol tours in foreign languages
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee included three of U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-NY) initiatives in the Defense Appropriations and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills that were recently approved by the Committee.
 
The Defense Appropriations bill accounts for half of all U.S. discretionary spending, and this year’s bill provides $658.1 billion for Department of Defense operations, readiness activities, and quality of life programs for our service members and their families. The Legislative Branch Appropriations bill funds the offices of Members of the House of Representatives, support agencies of Congress, security and police forces, services for visitors, and Capitol operations and maintenance. This year’s bill provides $3.58 billion in funding.
 
Meng’s items include the following:
 
Defense Appropriations Bill
 
  • A provision that encourages outreach and recruiting programs focused on increasing officer accessions from Minority Serving Institutions. Minority communities remain underrepresented in the general officer ranks across the military, and this much-needed provision would help build a more diverse military.
     
  • A provision that would require the Secretary of the VA to establish a program that encourages members of the Armed Forces serving as health professionals to pursue jobs with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) upon their discharge or separation from the military.
 
Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill
 
  • A provision that would encourage the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) to explore the feasibility of making listening devices available in additional foreign languages. Thousands of visitors from foreign countries visit the U.S. Capitol building each year, and though the CVC provides brochures in thirteen languages, listening devices are only available in five languages.
 
“As a new member of the House Appropriations Committee, I thank my colleagues for including these important provisions in the appropriations bills,” said Meng. “I look forward to seeing these bills advance to the House floor for a vote.” 
 
The Defense and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills have been approved by the House Appropriations Committee, and now may head to the House floor for a vote.