A belated Happy New Year!
In 2019, we ushered in the 116th Congress and a new Democratic majority comprised of the most diverse group of Representatives in history. Our new majority has made good on promises to protect healthcare, defend our democracy, and hold this Administration accountable. Here’s a look back on the successes of 2019 and how we were able to serve the needs of South Floridians and all Americans.
The Democratic Majority passed legislation to:
- Lower skyrocketing prescription costs by stopping drug companies from ripping off Americans.
- Protect people with pre-existing conditions and end the sabotage to the Affordable Care Act.
Defend Our Democracy
- Ensure the security of our elections by upgrading outdated, vulnerable election infrastructure.
- Prevent foreign interference in our elections, including requiring campaigns to notify the FBI if a foreign power seeks to provide campaign assistance.
Climate Change, Gun Violence and Safety
- Ensure the U.S. honors our commitments on climate action detailed in the Paris Agreement.
- Improve and pass a long-term Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
- Require background checks for all gun sales, closing the gun show and online sales loopholes.
- Fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans with passage of the Equality Act.
- Provide path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.
- Gradually raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2025, a pay raise for up to 33 million families.
- Guarantee lawmakers unrestricted access to monitor migrant detention camps and facilities.
- Establish Temporary Protective Status for Venezuelans and provide funding to restore democracy in Venezuela amid growing Russian influence in the hemisphere.
Entering 2019, our new majority inherited an unwelcome gift from the last Congress: a government shutdown due to President Trump’s petulant demand for an ineffective border wall. After reopening the government and negotiating a deal with no new wall funding, we were handed another major task: keep funding the government with a full year spending bill.
Last month, we did just that, with new or increased funds for several Democratic and South Florida priorities, including:
- $200 million for Everglades Restoration and authorization a massive suite of freshwater restoration projects
- $2.681 billion in Army Corps construction funding, enabling Port Everglades to compete for more robust project funding.
- $29.5 million for NOAA’s Coral Reef Program.
- $19 million for Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research.
Of course, 2019 also brought us impeachment. Every Congress I take an oath to protect our Constitution and the Rule of Law, and safeguard our democracy so we can all build a better nation together. President Trump took this same oath, yet indisputable evidence shows he repeatedly violated it. Constitutionally, the only remedy was impeachment. I did not make my decision do so lightly, but Trump has continually put his interests before those of this nation. Left unchecked, he’d do it again – and he’s said so.
Despite all of our efforts and accomplishments, much of our work awaits action in the Senate. I know when we return to Washington, our House majority will press the President and GOP Senators to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act into law, and take action on the 200+ bipartisan bills awaiting Senate action that will help millions of American families. This will be a defining year for all of us, and I am happy to say we are diving into it with momentum! I look forward to the immense progress we will make together in the coming months.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Member of Congress