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WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved the federal Defense spending bill for fiscal year 2018. The legislation provides $658.1 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD), including operations, readiness activities, combatting terrorism, and health and quality-of-life programs for U.S. troops and military families.

"This bill will strengthen U.S. military forces, improve readiness and boost healthcare for our troops, their families and retirees," said Congressman Rogers. "We have a duty to equip our men and women on the front lines with the necessary tools and training to aid them in protecting our homeland, supporting our allies overseas, and guarding against violent extremists."

During the bill markup, Congressman Rogers, who serves as Chairman Emeritus of the committee, advocated for rapid advances in connecting electronic health records between the DoD and the Veterans Administration (VA). 

"A few years ago, a young soldier was brought to my office here from my district who had been severely injured in Afghanistan. He lost, completely, the sight in one eye. He was brought to the hospital in Germany and they were able to save the other eye. However, it started to deteriorate after a couple of years," explained Congressman Rogers. "The VA hospital in Lexington could not get records from DoD about the operation in Germany, while he was on active duty. The systems just don’t communicate with each other. He lost his other eye. A sad story that’s been repeated time and again."

The House Appropriations Committee discovered the disconnect between the two federal agencies several years ago.

"It's sad to say the problem is still not yet fixed," continued Congressman Rogers. "We've poured millions into it, both the VA and the DoD - each one of them wanting to protect their own system, which is egregious, bureaucratic and bungling."

Chairwoman Kay Granger confirmed the Defense bill fully funds the request to expand the DoD's new electronic health records pilot program to additional sites to improve the system. 

The bill now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

DoD markup

To watch the FY18 Defense Appropriations Bill markup, visit

The bill was approved by the Committee on a voice vote.
For a bill summary, please visit:
For the bill report, please visit:
For the text of the bill, please visit: