Diaz-Balart Supports Funding for our Nation’s Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. ­­–– Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after the passage of FY2020 funding bills, H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865.

“As former Chairman, and now Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, funding the priorities of the American people has always been the matter of greatest importance to me. The funding bills passed by the House today are big wins for our nation and for Florida. These bills prioritize funding for enhancing our infrastructure, supporting our military and strengthening our national security, and bolstering school safety initiatives. In addition, critical housing programs such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Homeless Assistance Grants are prioritized. We have already seen Florida capitalize on the programs these bills fund, and with its passage today our state will continue to benefit from them moving forward.

“I am proud of this legislation, which not only keeps our government running, but also funds critical initiatives that directly and positively impact my constituents. I congratulate Ranking Member Kay Granger and Chairwoman Nita Lowey for their bipartisan, determined work on this legislation. It’s an honor to work alongside them and our colleagues in the Appropriations Committee.”

Congressman Diaz-Balart, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, was successful in including the following items in the 2020 appropriations minibuses:

  • Continues the investments into our nation’s infrastructure
    • $2.6B for highway grants
    • $1.9B for Capital Investment Grants
    • $1B for the Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program
    • $910M for investments into our airports and transit systems
    • $225M for seaports, the second year in a row I have been able to secure this funding
  • Provides housing opportunities to our most vulnerable populations
    • $23.87B in public housing vouchers
    • $3.425 for Community Development Block Grants
    • $2.77B for Homeless Assistance Grants
    • $1.35B for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program
    • $1.4B for housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS, the elderly, and persons with disabilities
    • $159M for Neighborworks, helping local communities’ partner with the public and private sector to provide housing
    • $25M for a Mobility Demonstration Program under HUD
  • Ensures the protection of our environment
    • $200M for continued Everglades Restoration
    • $185M in additional funding for Army Corps construction projects, for which environmental restoration projects can compete
    • $29.8M for the National Estuary Program, which the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve will directly benefit from
    • $19M for NOAA’s Harmful Algal Blooms research program
    • $4.8M for the South Florida Geographic Program, which monitors coral health and enhances water quality
  • Bolsters our Defense capabilities and provides for our servicemen and women
    • $693.3B in funding for the Department of Defense
    • $560.5M for SOUTHCOM and counter-narcotics activity
    • Local businesses in FL-25 with proven products are expected to compete for:
      • $10M in Army procurement for the Enhanced Ballistic Armor Protection System
      • $5M increase in Army research for the Advanced Helicopter Seating System
      • $2M increase in Army research for Helicopter Emergency Oil Systems
    • $210M for Light Attack Aircraft, which is built in Florida
    • Provides funding needed to continue to rebuild the military after years of neglect by the Obama Administration
    • Funds a 3.1% military pay raise, continues to restore readiness, and provides our warfighters the housing, health care, and resources they need to defend our country
  • Ensures the safety of our schools
    • $342.3 million through programs administered by the DOJ
      • Of this, $125 million for the STOP School Violence Act grant program which includes a carveout of $50 million for school hardening measures administered by the Community Oriented Policing Services
    • $270.2 million through various grant programs under HHS
    • $105 million for School Safety National Activities through the Department of Education
    • Language allowing Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grants to be used for school safety
  • Supports democracy abroad and our closest allies, and counters Russian and Chinese aggression
    • $2.4B for democracy programs, including no less than $50M for Cuba and Venezuela
    • Fully funds the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding by providing $500M for Israeli Cooperative programs, including Iron Dome
    • An additional $3.3B for Israel, for foreign military financing
    • $1.52M for Jordan, for foreign military financing and economic support
    • $520M for Central America, including funds to combat drug trafficking
    • $448.3M for Colombia, including assistance to communities impacted by the refugee crisis
    • $300M for the National Endowment for Democracy
    • $300M for the Countering Chinese Influence Fund
    • $290M for the Countering Russian Influence Fund
  • Provides for our farmers and growers
    • $81M for citrus greening activities and multi-agency coordination efforts
    • $38B in loans for rural housing, rural utilities, and rural businesses
    • $3.6B for rural development programs which assists in building sustainable rural infrastructure
    • $1.2B to support those affected by hurricanes, floods, drought, and other natural disasters
    • $1B for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Research and Education account
  • $41.7B for the National Institute of Health to ensure America continues to lead in basic science research and advance biomedical research
  • $1.5B for Opioid Response Grants
  • $85M for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, an account I have long supported and fought for
  • $500M for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, of which Collier county is the largest recipient in the state of Florida
  • $285M for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, which includes Miami-Dade and Collier counties
  • $4.9B in net funding for the TSA, allowing the agency to hire 1,090 more checkpoint personnel, 50 additional canine teams, and 320 new CT machines
  • Provides $22.5M for Pell Grants, and increases the maximum award to $5,285
  • Language directing $5M to support the establishment of partnerships between VA hospitals and NCI-designated facilities, such as Moffitt Cancer Center, that allow for Veterans to access cancer clinical trials at VA health centers
  • Language urging the Department of Defense to collaborate with existing research universities with federally designated testing facilities, such as Florida International University, to accelerate investments to asses DOD installation vulnerabilities at home and abroad
  • $312M for the Coast Guard’s revised Offshore Patrol Cutter timeline
  • $2.9M for FEMA grant programs to help states and localities prepare for, mitigate, and respond to disasters
  • $193M for Floodplain Management and Mapping under FEMA
  • Maintains ALL pro-life protections
  • Legislative Priorities I have long supported included in this legislation
    • An extension of the National Flood Insurance Program to September 30, 2020
    • A seven-year authorization of the Export-Import Bank, along with needed reforms
      • Our district is home to the largest number of small businesses utilizing the Ex-Im Bank in the state of Florida
    • The VERDAD Act, which strengthens the U.S. response to Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis
    • The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, which deepens the U.S. security and energy relationship with countries such as Israel, Cyprus, and Greece
    • A three-year authorization of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
    • The European Energy Security and Diversification Act, which authorizes financing to catalyze public and private sector investment in strategically important energy projects as a tool to counter Russia’s predatory energy policies
    • A provision authorizing the Department of State to provide U.S. Government personnel with brain injuries and cognitive issues stemming from health incidents that occurred during their service in Cuba and China with additional benefits
    • The SECURE Act, which expands access to retirement plans for millions of workers and increases retirement security for both savers and employers
    • Amends the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act to provide American victims of international terrorism with additional legal grounds on which to pursue justice in U.S. courts
    • Repeals the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, the sales tax on health insurance, and the excise tax on employer-provided health insurance plans
    • Extends Medicaid funding to U.S. territories for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021
    • Delays the reduction in the allotments for Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals
    • Extends the Community Health Centers Fund and National Health Service Corps Fund
    • Extends the Special Diabetes Program, which supports research on the prevention and cure for Type 1 diabetes, and includes provisions to incentivize more competition in the insulin market
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