Press Release

Castor Statement on House Passage of Appropriations Bill to Serve Tampa + MacDill Families, Bolster Fight Against COVID-19

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Washington, July 24, 2020 | comments

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted in support of a number of initiatives for Tampa Bay and MacDill Air Force Base in the FY2021 appropriations minibus, H.R. 7608.

“Today’s funding bill reflects House Democrats’ values and priorities – support for our service members, veterans and their families, safeguarding our environment, providing food security for our neighbors, and reinstating funding for the worldwide fight against the coronavirus. The Trump Administration’s callous proposal to slash these investments is wrong, especially at a time where we must be doing more to help our families and communities.

“Every day is Veterans Day in my patriotic hometown, and I am pleased that this bill reaffirms my commitment to honor veterans and enhance services they have earned.  It also provides for service members and their families, including those at MacDill. We must serve them as well as they serve us. This package provides $1.49B for military housing, including $135M to address issues such as mold and shoddy construction that I have championed addressing for years after hearing from our MacDill families. This funding will go a long way to provide families with proper housing while they serve our nation. There is also substantial funding for our veterans, including increased mental health care funding, homeless assistance programs, and over $12B in funds to aid in rising veterans’ health care costs.

“I am proud to share that my language to continue the moratorium on oil and gas drilling and related activities in the Gulf and planning areas around Florida was included in this bill – and an increase in EPA funding. House Democrats are committed to tackling the legacy of environmental racism and enacting solutions that benefit the economic and physical well-being of Americans in all corners of our country, which is why I am pleased that there is a significant increase in funding for the EPA’s Environmental Justice activities.

“In addition to the four COVID-19 emergency aid bills that the Congress has already passed into law to help our neighbors, small businesses, frontline and health workers and researchers, H.R. 7608 provides additional funds to respond to the virus and prevent its spread. As Trump unconscionably withdraws the United States from the World Health Organization, this legislation restores funding to help find a vaccine and support our global partners in this fight – the virus is not daunted by any border.

“As Feeding Tampa Bay sees a sharp increase in families who need food assistance, House Democrats’ bill provides full funding for child nutrition programs, SNAP, and WIC. In addition to this critical aid, I urge the Senate, and Florida’s Senators to take up the Heroes Act, a fifth COVID-19 aid package passed by the House, which would increase food benefits by 15 percent during this pandemic.”

H.R. 7608 totals $259.5 billion in discretionary funding and consists of four FY 2021 appropriations bills: State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Priorities for Tampa residents included in this House-passed FY21 appropriations package include:

SERVICE MEMBERS, MILITARY FAMILIES AND VETERANS:

  • $1.49 billion for military housing- the Family Housing Support and Management is funded at $135 million to address issues such as mold, vermin and lead in military family housing. Directs DOD to work with the private sector partners to prioritize funding for mold remediation and report on its efforts.
  • Provides $12.5 billion in emergency appropriations for VA to address sharply rising health care costs
  • Veterans Medical Care – $90.0 billion, $9.8 billion above fiscal year 2020
    • Mental Health Care – $10.3 billion
    • Homeless Assistance Programs – $1.9 billion
    • Gender-Specific Care for Women – $661 million
  • Military Construction Projects – $10.4 billion, with language ensuring these funds cannot be stolen for Trump’s wasteful border wall
    • Military Family Housing – $1.49 billion, $22 million above fiscal year 2020

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Castor language to continue the moratorium on oil and gas drilling and related activities in the Gulf and planning areas around Florida
  • $9.38 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, $318 million above fiscal year 2020
    • $521.6 million for EPA’s Clean Air programs and research, $37.9 million above fiscal year 2020
    • $15 million for Environmental Justice activities, an increase of $4.8 million (47%) above FY20 enacted levels and 5x the budget request
  • $13.83 billion for the Department of the Interior (non-LWCF), $304 million above fiscal year 2020

CORONAVIRUS

  • Gives FDA legal authority to require the recall of unsafe prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Restores funding for the World Health Organization, a vital U.S. partner in the fight against COVID-19, which President Trump has announced intent to withdraw from

FOOD SECURITY

  • Provides full funding for SNAP ($68.277 billion), child nutrition programs ($25.131 billion), and WIC ($5.75 billion)
  • Blocks two unconscionable SNAP rules by the Trump administration designed to restrict program eligibility

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • $15.17 billion in water infrastructure and other infrastructure programs, including $12.97 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and $546 million to get lead out of drinking water

 

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