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Rubio Secures Critical Funding for Florida & U.S. National Security Interests in Appropriations Bills

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, applauded the Senate passage of the Consolidated National Security Bill (H.R. 1158) and the Consolidated Domestic and International Assistance Bill (H.R. 1865). The two appropriations bills include a number of critical priorities advanced by Rubio and will fund the federal government through Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
 
“Whether it’s the full $200 million for Everglades restoration, $2.4 billion to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, or $125 million for the STOP School Violence Act, I am proud to have secured a significant number of priorities for Florida in these two spending packages,” Rubio said. “Importantly, these packages also include the Disaster Tax Relief Act, a bill I was proud to support that will enact tax relief for families, businesses, and communities across our state who are still recovering from recent natural disasters, including Northwest Florida communities that were devastated by Hurricane Michael.” 
 
“These bills also fund priorities that are critical to our national security interest and regional partners. I was proud to co-author both the VERDAD Act, which provides $400 million to help restore democracy in Venezuela, and the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Partnership Act of 2019, which enhances our engagement in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” Rubio continued. “Whether it be my unwavering support of religious freedom, fighting for human rights and democracy, or combating China, this bill makes it clear that the United States continues to be the biggest champion of freedom and democratic principles across the globe.” 
 
Florida First
 
Everglades and Environment:

  • $200 million for Everglades restoration and a dedicated New Start for the Central Everglades Planning Project.
  • Senate report language included in Investigations related to the Central Everglades Planning Project and strongly urges the Corps to design and construct PPA New Water and the Everglades Agricultural Area as quickly as possible.
  • Provides additional funding for Harmful Algal Blooms in Aquatic Nuisance Control Research in the Operations & Maintenance account.
  • $100 million for Environmental Infrastructure in Construction (Monroe County wastewater projects).
  • Includes report language for reef restoration through the NOAA Coral Reef Program and provides $29.5 million, $2 million above FY19.
  • Includes report language on harmful algal blooms (HAB); provides $19 million for HAB research and $1 million to establish new regional pilot for HAB monitoring and detection.
  • South Florida Geographic Program: $1.64 million increase for planning and monitoring activities associated with the Everglades and Florida Keys Coral Reef ecosystems, the second straight year of significant funding increases.
  • Includes explicit funding and report language on coral reef health, invasive species, and PFAS, climate adaptation science centers through USGS.

 
Homeland Security:

  • $90 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
  • Bill language and funding for 452 new Customs and Border Protection officers.

 
National Flood Insurance Program:

  •  Extends the National Flood Insurance Program to September 30, 2020.

 
Panhandle:

  • $2.42 billion for rebuilding Tyndall Air Force Base. Additionally, the bill provides $173.2 million for Military Construction projects in Florida.
  • $312 million for the Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter, being built at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City.
  • Disaster tax relief that enacts tax relief for victims of federally declared natural disasters from 2018 and 2019, including reduced taxes on the use of retirement funds for recovery, employee retention by businesses, increased deductions for charitable giving and casualty loss, and flexibility for calculating the earned income tax credit and child tax credit.
  • Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program at $500 million.
  • $440 million for Legal Services Corporation, an increase of $25 million. 

 
School Safety:

  •  $125 million for the STOP School Violence Act.
  •  Includes report language that directs the Department of Education to brief Congress on the progress made towards establishing a clearinghouse with effective evidence-based approaches for school safety and positive learning environments, including improving and expanding access to mental health for students.
  • $105 million for Safe Schools National Activities, an increase of $10 million, which supports evidence-based activities to improve school safety, prevent violence, and improve school climates.
  •  Includes report language that encourages the Department of Education to partner with outside experts and other Federal agencies to develop best-practices to improve school safety and school climate.
  • Includes report language that encourages the Department of Education to better coordinate with states on school safety and school climate efforts.

 
Education:

  • $1.3 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants, an increase of $20 million, and report language.
  • Increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $150, an increase of 2.2 percent, from $6,195 to $6,345 for the 2020-21 school year.
  •  $325 million for Strengthening HBCUs, an increase of $42 million.
  • $787 million for English Language Acquisition, an increase of $50 million.
  • $175 million to expand opportunities through federally registered apprenticeships, an increase of $15 million.
  • The Family First Transition Act, which extends funding certainty for child welfare demonstration projects and supports implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act by creating a new funding stream for waiver states like Florida.

 
Healthcare and Veterans:

  • $2.82 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, a $350 million increase.
  • $6.4 billion for the National Cancer Institute, an increase of $299.4 million.
  • $500 million for the NIH Brain Initiative.
  • Prevents $4 billion in Medicaid cuts to hospitals.
  • Repealed three Obamacare taxes – the Cadillac tax on employer health care, the Health Insurance tax on health insurance plans and the Medical Device Tax
  • $3.9 billion for mental health programs.
  • $3.8 billion to combat the opioid crisis.
  • Inclusion of the CREATES Act to end PhRMA’s practices that prevent generic manufacturers from developing lower cost alternatives to drugs.  
  • $9.4 billion for Veteran Mental Health Services.
  • $153.6 million for the implementation of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.
  •  $311 million for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, an increase of $11 million.
  • $135 million for the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers, $4 million above the FY2019 enacted level.

 
Housing

  • Maintains reforms that require the timely remediation of health and safety conditions, creates new maintenance standards, and establishes oversight of inspection process at Section 8 project-based assistance housing facilities.
  • Language on the use of tenant surveys.  
  • $23.9 billion for Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance.
  • $21.5 billion for Section 8 Voucher renewals.
  • $410 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
  • $25 million for Family Unification Vouchers to provide housing for at-risk foster youth transitioning out of foster care at the age of 17.
  • $3.4 million for technology research partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 
Space Coast:

  •  Funding for Venture Class Launch Service Tactically Responsive Launch Operations, a $22 million increase.
  • $2.586 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS).
  • $1.4 billion for the Orion crewed spacecraft to continue development of NASA’s next deep space crewed capsule.

 
Puerto Rico:

  •  Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico. Extends funding to the U.S. territories for FY2020 and FY2021; includes important program integrity improvements for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program. This funding will be available at a Federal Match rate of 76 percent for Puerto Rico and 83 percent for the other territories.
  • Language supporting Army Corps construction of the Caño Martin Peña environmental restoration and flood control project in San Juan.

 
Small Business:

  • $135 million for the SBA’s Small Business Development Centers.
  • $14 million for veterans outreach programs.
  • Fully funds the disaster loans program at $177 million.
  • Adopts language for SBA on Office of Credit Risk Management for appropriate lender oversight.
  • Adopts language on SBA disaster loan duplication of assistance, ensuring disaster victims will not be penalized unfairly. 
  • Adopts language on Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) concentration to expand the number of small businesses who have access to venture capital funding.

 
 
Advancing Democracy, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom Globally
 
Western Hemisphere:

  • The Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance and Development (VERDAD) Act of 2019, co-authored by Senator Rubio, strengthens the U.S response to Venezuela’s growing humanitarian crisis and its impact on neighboring countries. It includes $400 million for Venezuelan migrants and host communities who have fled their homeland. It restricts entrance into the U.S. for family members of sanctioned individuals, advances the coordinated international effort for a post-Maduro Venezuela, and requests a report on crimes against humanity committed by the Maduro regime. The VERDAD Act also includes text that extends the expiration date of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–278) to December 31, 2023.
  • $21 million Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
  • $448 million for programs for Colombia.
  • $519 million for Central America assistance for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama including through the Central America Regional Security Strategy.
  • $20 million for Central American Women and Children. 

 
Promoting Democracy:

  • $2.4 billion for Democracy Programs.
    • $300 million for the National Endowment for Democracy.
    • $20 million for Cuba Democracy Programs.
  • $30 million for Venezuela Democracy Programs.

 
Supporting U.S. Allies:

  • $3.3 billion for Foreign Military Financing (FMF) security assistance for Israel.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Partnership Act of 2019, co-authored by Senator Rubio, deepens U.S. security and energy relationships in the Eastern Mediterranean region, especially with Israel, Cyprus and Greece. The bill authorizes security assistance for Cyprus and Greece and would lift arms restrictions on Cyprus. It also authorizes the establishment of a United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center to facilitate energy cooperation among the U.S., Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. 

 
Combating China:

  • Retains report language requiring the Department of Health and Human Service’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to disclose the Russian and Chinese labs that may be receiving federal payments to process Americans’ genomic data.
  • Report language on prohibition of Chinese Rail cars.
  • $300 million for a new fund to combat malign Chinese influence activities and increase transparency and accountability associated with the Belt and Road Initiative.

 
Advancing International Religious Freedom: 

  • Authorizes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for three years to continue the vital work of highlighting religious freedom violations and advancing religious liberty worldwide. It also includes provisions to enhance USCIRF’s credibility and transparency.

 
Strengthening Global Health:

  • $6.3 billion for HIV/AIDS assistance, including $1.56 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS/Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
  • $61 million for polio eradication efforts.
  • $102 million to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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All Information was gathered from publicly available US Government releases. "§105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. ( Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546 .)" http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:17%20section:105%20edition:prelim)