Taxpayer's Guide to the Stimulus:
9. State Department and Veteran Affairs

Location in Stimulus Bill:
Division A, Title X and Title XI

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Summary: The stimulus gives $2 billion for State Department and Department of Veteran Affairs programs.

>> Spending

$1 billion for VA Medical Facilities. General repair and improvements of hospitals and medical centers run by Veteran Affairs.

$350 million for the Department of Veteran Affairs. The VA will use $150 million of this money for its general operating budget, $150 million to build new long-term recovery hospitals for veterans, and the remaining $50 million to upgrade IT systems at its facilities.

$310 million for State Department Programs. States will use $220 million of this money to develop construction projects along the US-Mexico border that preserve water. They will use the other $90 million for "urgent" repairs to buildings and equipment at consulates to process passport applications and to train new workers in the process.

The money given to the State Department for "urgent" repairs is very ambiguous and reflective of the nature of many of the appropriations in the stimulus. Spending money to speed up the passport application process might be good if it is promoting free trade and international travel, but the language is unclear. The State Department could use this money for virtually anything, and thus the dollars are only increasing the budget of a federal agency.

$290 million for the State Department Capital Investment Fund. This provision is specifically to be spent upgrading the Information Technology (IT) security at the State Department.

$50 million for the National Cemetery Administration. This money will go into the general budget of the NCA, which honors veterans by maintaining burial grounds and national shrines to commemorate military service.

>> Commentary

More from Reason on Government Reform.

>> Government Recovery Websites

Department of State: http://www.state.gov/recovery/
Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/recovery


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Written by: Anthony Randazzo. Please email with any comments or corrections.



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