Wasserman Schultz Backs Funding Package that Lowers Costs and Meets Global, Florida Needs

This package funds critical local projects, and boldly confronts America’s larger challenges, like growing our middle class, rethreading our safety net, and confronting climate change

Washington, D.C. –  Today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) voted to support an omnibus fiscal year 2022 government funding bill and emergency Ukraine aid, a comprehensive package that lowers costs for families and makes critical South Florida investments, all while confronting urgent health, climate, and national security issues.

“This package funds critical local projects, and boldly confronts America’s larger challenges, like growing our middle class, rethreading our safety net, and confronting climate change,” said Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations’ Subcommittee. “President Biden once said, ‘Don't tell me what you value; show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value.’ This bill reflects our values. It will reinforce our national security infrastructure, invest in new military base child development centers and family housing, and ensures veterans receive the healthcare they deserve. Those strong military and veterans’ investments include funds for PFAS contamination cleanup, women’s health and mental health, as well as suicide prevention, opioid abuse programs and homelessness prevention efforts, and so much more.”

Wasserman Schultz also teamed with other Members and House Democratic leaders to block a Republican effort to cut COVID relief funding to various states, a move which would have cost Florida $787 million in federal funding.

“We need to not only beat this virus, but keep the pandemic from sporadically overwhelming doctors and nurses, needlessly costing lives, and disrupting our schools and businesses,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Short-changing Florida on funds to pro-actively protect our community and leave it vulnerable to the next surge, is something I cannot accept. For the sake and safety of our residents, many of whom are older and vulnerable to COVID, I hope Florida’s Senators agree.” 

Among the key state priorities in the overall spending package is a record $350 million for Everglades’ restoration efforts; $2 million for the Consumer Product Safety Commission Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Pool and Spa Safety Act Grant Program, sponsored by Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz, and critical funding for Israel security assistance and Cuban pro-democracy programs.

The legislation also includes Community Project Funding secured by Rep. Wasserman Schultz, including:

         $2 million for the Broward UP Program at Broward College to expand workforce training and certifications, provide success coaching in high unemployment areas

         $2 million for the Florida International University PET/Cyclotron Center to perform imaging studies and advance solutions to a variety of human diseases that face our communities

         $1.95 million for Nova Southeastern University Emerging Technologies Equipment to improve access to and development of emerging technologies

         $500,000 for PACE Reach Teletherapy Services to expand its already established flagship Reach Therapeutic Counseling services for adolescent girls in hard-to-reach geographical areas

         $2 million for City of Sunrise’s Storm Water Pump Station to replace the aging pump, which manages stormwater and provides flood protection to thousands of acres of residents and businesses

         $1.77 million for the Town of Davie’s Shenandoah Drainage Improvements to fund a pump station that will improve drainage capacity and enhance water treatment

         $1.5 million for the Dania Beach Water Utility Upgrade and Improvement Project that will serve residential neighborhoods

         $3 million for CW Thomas Park Redevelopment in Dania Beach to rebuild a recreational, social, and civic community center

Other targeted priorities of Rep. Wasserman Schultz that are in this legislation include:

·       At a time where antisemitism and other hate is on the rise, $250 million was funded for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps secure synagogues, and other places of worship. A level that is $70 million more than last year 

·       Language urging the Food and Drug Administration to carefully weigh the risk of youth initiation and high nicotine levels on regulation and enforcement of electronic cigarettes and youth use

·       Support for countries like Columbia, who welcome fleeing Venezuelans, and $40 million in bilateral assistance for pro-democracy and human rights programs in Venezuela, plus targeted resources for its women and children

·       $234 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, a $70 million increase that will help Florida’s vital ports recover from COVID-19

·       Robust national PFAS Cleanup funding for environmental restoration and language to help EPA regulate the carcinogenic substance

·       Funding to combat the spread of citrus greening disease, which is devastating Florida’s crops

·       $20 million in additional funding for Army Corps shore protection projects to protect South Florida’s beaches from erosion, storm surge, and sea level rise

·       Funding for USGS to study the impacts of water extraction from springs and groundwater for bottled water to learn how companies like Nestle harm our water resources. Historic increases for Solar Energy and Wind Energy at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to research the clean technologies of the future

·       $5 million for implementing a Bridge Technologies Clearinghouse, which will work with University Transportation Centers, like the one at Florida International University

·       Funding and language to encourage FAA to engage with communities affected by noise annoyance and provide more information to the public

·       Language that encourages FDA to hire additional staff to improve and expand treatment options for pediatric cancer patients

·       Nearly $6 million – an increase of $1 million – for the EARLY Act, legislation passed by Wasserman Schultz that educates young and at-risk women about breast cancer

·       Language that implements Wasserman Schultz’s PALS Act to extend breast cancer screening without co-pay until January 2024

·       Creation of the Alcee L. Hastings Program for Advancing Cancer Screening in Underserved Communities, which will provide $5 million to fund health centers to increase access and address barriers to cancer screening, in partnership with NCI-designated cancer centers

·       Language to require HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to allow Members of Congress to visit federal facilities that house unaccompanied minors to conduct oversight without prior notice

·       Language that prevents ORR from putting unaccompanied children in unlicensed facilities that are not in compliance with the Flores Settlement and other monitoring requirements

·       $10 million to establish a pilot program that would provide grants to states to develop comprehensive school climate and safety plans that include effective, culturally competent, and evidence-based initiatives to strengthen, promote, and enhance school climates, affirm identities, and ensure school safety

“This spending package meets so many South Florida needs, and it will help every American family get ahead, all while addressing the national security and climate changes realities that confront our global-facing state,” Wasserman Schultz said.

A detailed summary of the broader spending package is available here.