Wasserman Schultz helped lead fellow House Democrats in passing robust and essential appropriations bills that achieve significant victories for families across the nation, especially in South Florida.
Wasserman Schultz Delivers for South Florida Families, Environment and Health Needs
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) helped lead fellow House Democrats in passing robust and essential appropriations bills this week. The spending agreement is the result of hard-fought compromise, but it achieves significant victories for families across the nation, especially in South Florida. The agreement passed the Senate Thursday and now awaits the President’s approval.
"I'm proud of what we achieved with this bipartisan spending agreement. I believe much of this package, like gun research funding, election protection and record funding for medical research and Head Start, truly represent the values of the people in my district. Overall, these full-year bills provide economic stability, strengthen our communities and keep our nation secure," said Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Appropriations Committee's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. "These agreements ultimately included tough compromises, and I'm disappointed we did not establish stronger limits on the Department of Homeland Security. But given our divided government, this spending agreement reflects Democrats' commitment to fight for America's working families and includes strong investments in Florida's needs."
The bills include funding for life-saving medical research, lower-cost prescription initiatives, grants to combat opioid abuse, and extensions and increases for Medicaid funding for fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The bills also extend the National Flood Insurance Program and boost clean energy programs, provide disaster relief, and ensure our election infrastructure is protected.
These spending bills also provide $25 million for gun violence research – for the first time in two decades – and include record funding for Head Start and billions for the upcoming 2020 Census to ensure every American is counted and has a voice. Below are some of the notable legislative victories Wasserman Schultz secured, and other provisions that deliver on key South Florida priorities in these spending bills:
Health, Research and Child Safety
• Language to direct the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration to develop education and technology plans to save children in hot cars from hyperthermia.
• More overall funding for Missing and Exploited Children’s Programs at Department of Justice. Obtained $87.5 million, up from $82 million in fiscal year 2019.
• $5 million carveout for Rare Cancer Therapeutics research.
• $1.3 million for Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act Grants.
• Extended protection for access to mammograms without a co-pay at age 40, until 2022.
• $4.96 million to educate young women about breast health through a program created by my EARLY Act.
• $110 million for peer-reviewed cancer research and explicitly makes metastatic cancer an eligible funding category.
• Agreement provides almost $500 million for Department of Defense cancer research.
• Everglades Restoration: Secured full funding of $200M to live up to the federal government’s commitment to share costs of ecosystem restoration with the State of Florida.
• Secured language to authorize the Central Everglades Planning Project, a massive suite of restoration projects to restore South Florida’s natural freshwater flows.
• NOAA’s Coral Reef Program increased from $27.6 to $29.5 million.
• $19 million for Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research.
• Won significant increases in funding for renewable energy programs to fight climate change, like the Solar and Wind Energy offices at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
• Secured $2.681 billion in Army Corps construction funding and six new construction starts, enabling Port Everglades to compete for more robust project funding.
• $1.4 billion for salaries and expenses for agriculture research services.
• Secured nearly $70 million for fighting citrus disease.
Migrant Safety and Dignity
• Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s amendment to require the Administration to allow Members of Congress to conduct oversight visits of migrant detention facilities without any prior notice was maintained in the final Homeland Security agreement. The language also prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from altering conditions at facilities in anticipation of a visit by a Member of Congress.
• A key provision of the Congresswoman’s Families Not Facilities Act made it into the final agreement. This provision prohibits Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from removing potential sponsors of unaccompanied children based on information provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as part of the sponsor's application to accept custody of an unaccompanied child. This protects sponsors from detention or removal, expedites family reunification, and helps get children out of detention facilities.
• Obtained language in the House final report to direct ICE to work with GSA to determine how to improve facilities and accommodations for visitors at ICE Enforcement and Removal Field Offices, an urgent problem in South Florida.