Press Release

Rep. Castor Votes to Pass Major Investments for Students, Health Care, Veterans and Nearly $11M in Funding for Tampa-Based Projects

Legislation creates good-paying jobs, grows opportunity and lifts Tampa families

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Washington, July 29, 2021 | comments

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted to pass H.R. 4502, a package of seven government funding bills, with investments to create good-paying American jobs, grow opportunity for the middle class and small businesses, and provide a lifeline for working families. The package also includes nearly $11M in funding that Rep. Castor championed for local projects.

“As our economy recovers from the Covid19 pandemic, House Democrats have crafted a government funding package that will lift families, support small businesses and invest in good-paying jobs here in Tampa and across the country,” said Rep. Castor. “I’m proud that many efforts I’ve championed on behalf of my neighbors and local economic engines are included in this bold bill.

My amendment to increase oversight of for-profit charter school corporations was included in this package, an effort that I have championed alongside many passionate parents, faculty and board members from Hillsborough County Schools. I thank my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for the charter oversight measures included in this bill that will help ensure that every child has an opportunity to learn and succeed, especially the students in Florida who deserve better.

“Our health care Navigators at University of South Florida have been a lifeline for families throughout the Covid19 pandemic, connecting our neighbors with lifesaving health care coverage and answering their questions at a time when access to health care is more important than ever. We have secured robust funding to ensure these unsung heroes can continue their critical work in the days ahead.

“After learning six years ago that Florida and the Tampa Bay area have some of the worst HPV vaccination rates in the country, I joined forces with Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Anna Giuliano and USF College of Public Health to improve vaccination rates, increase public knowledge and save lives. This package builds on my recently introduced PREVENT HPV Cancers Act and includes my language encouraging the National Cancer Institute to expand their research on HPV-associated cancers and urging the CDC to conduct an awareness campaign to increase childhood vaccinations like HPV. Further, $230M I championed to provide cervical cancer screenings to underserved communities was included. Americans are dying from cancer when they shouldn’t, and I’m confident we can increase health equity and positive outcomes through these initiatives.

“My language to direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey public housing authorities to determine how many are known to be built on cemeteries or historical burial grounds and report its findings to the Congress was included in this bill and will hopefully provide clarity and peace of mind for families in Tampa and around the country. As we continue to identify lost graves in Tampa and across the nation, we can show respect for the final resting place of countless individuals and provide long-awaited peace of mind for their families. The history of Tampa’s Zion Cemetery, the Black families buried there, and the imperative to do right by the families who live in Robles Park have brought us to a moment and this direction to HUD will help bring recognition and justice here in Tampa and across the nation at similar sites.

“Members of Congress are elected to serve the public interest, not their personal interests, and in the spirit of my legislation to end Zombie Campaigns, this bill directs the Federal Election Commission to detail a report on their efforts to investigate the personal use of dormant campaign funds by former candidates. Ex-lawmakers and candidates should not be able to personally benefit from leftover campaign funds, and if we pass my bipartisan bill, we can put Zombie Campaigns in the grave once and for all.”

All nine community projects that Castor submitted for consideration to the House Appropriations Committee for this package were included by the House Appropriations Committee. This year marks the first time that Members of Congress have been able to submit specific community projects for direct funding in over a decade. Rep. Castor advocated successfully for the projects based upon community support and pressing local needs – from improving water quality to providing mental health services to aiding in the fight against cancer.

“I am proud to have secured much-needed funding for these critical projects to better the lives and livelihoods of those in Florida’s Fourteenth Congressional District. These projects address some of the most pressing needs in our community, and once passed into law, this infusion of resources will have an immediate and far-reaching impact on our community.”

Rep. Castor will continue to fight for this funding as the bill moves to negotiations with the Senate.

A summary of the nine projects is provided below, in alphabetical order:

AI/Machine Learning to Accelerate Cancer Research – H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

($2,000,000)

  • This funding will be used for computer infrastructure to allow Moffitt to leverage already existing data and allow scientists to translate greater understanding of the complexities of cancer into novel prevention, early detection and treatment to help improve outcomes for cancer patients throughout the U.S.

 

Connectivity for Prosperity – Tampa Housing Authority

($520,000)

  • This project will increase access to in-home reliable and high-speed internet in Tampa affordable housing communities, opening additional opportunities for education and training, employment and communication with medical providers, cultural groups and world events.

Cultural Campus Warehouse Renovation and Site Work – University Area Community Development Corporation, Inc.

($2,125,804)

  • This site in the University Area will serve as a hub connecting community residents with anchored partners who will provide services and initiatives to improve the quality of life for area neighbors.

Enhancing STEM Teacher Preparation in the Tampa Bay region – the University of South Florida

($1,000,000)

  • The funding would be used to prepare STEM teachers and creating a pipeline of STEM teachers to Hillsborough County Public Schools and other local school districts.

Fair Oaks Redevelopment Senior Center – the City of Tampa

($1,000,000)

  • This project will connect Tampa seniors with vital community services that help them stay healthy and independent as well as provide them with access to inclusive culture programs.

The Hand Up Program – the Urban League of Hillsborough County, Inc

($300,000)

  • This funding will help engage students who age out of school to link them with training and paid pre-apprenticeship initiatives in the Tampa Bay area.

Mariposa Women’s Neuropsychiatric Hospital – Mental Health Care, Inc (Gracepoint)

($2,000,000)

  • This project will fund 24 additional psychiatric beds for women in our community to address a significant shortfall in capacity and provide critically needed psychiatric services to thousands of women annually.

Tampa Harbor General Reevaluation Report – Port Tampa Bay

($800,000)

  • Port Tampa Bay is a critical economic engine for the region, responsible (in 2019) for a $17.2 billion impact and supporting more than 85,000 direct and indirect jobs. A deeper draft will enable Port Tampa Bay to sustain the continued growth in global commerce, therefore furthering economic development and jobs growth for west central Florida and the State of Florida.

Town N' Country Septic-to-Sewer – Hillsborough County

($800,000)

  • This project will fund the replacement of legacy septic tanks to increase water quality in our community.

This legislation will support Floridians and businesses:

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

  • In 2022, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies bill provides $279.9 billion in total funding, an increase of $28.1 billion – more than 10 percent – above 2021. The legislation:
    • Includes $116.2 million to address issues such as mold, vermin, and lead in military family housing
    • Provides $98.5 billion for veterans’ healthcare, an 8 percent increase over 2021. This increase would provide an additional $81.4 million in funding for veterans’ healthcare in Florida’s 14th District. These additional funds will enable the VHA to improve access to health care in key areas like women’s health, mental health, and opioid treatment; provide more veterans with home and community-based services; recruit and retain nurses and physicians; and support crucial medical research that improves veterans’ health and quality of life
    • Rebuilds our infrastructure with strong investments to construct critical facilities on military installations including family housing and child care centers, and build, repair, and retrofit Veterans Affairs facilities
    • Protects our national security with investments to respond to the challenges posed by Russian and Chinese aggression
    • Confronts the climate crisis with increased climate change and resiliency funding to help military installations adapt to rising sea levels and worsening natural disasters

 

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies 

  • In 2022 the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill provides $253.8 billion, an increase of $55.2 billion – 28 percent – above 2021. With this historic increase, the legislation:
    • Creates and sustains good-paying American jobs through investments in job training, apprenticeship programs, and worker protection
    • Grows opportunity with transformative investments in education, including record funding for high-poverty schools and students with disabilities, and strong increases for programs that expand access to post-secondary education
    • Supports middle class and working families with increased funding for child care and development programs, Head Start, and preschool development grants
    • Strengthens lifesaving biomedical research with increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, including funding to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health
    • Bolsters our public health infrastructure with more resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and for states and local governments to strengthen infrastructure and capacity
    • Addresses our nation’s most urgent health crises, including maternal health, mental health, gun violence, and opioid abuse, while making strides to reduce persistent and unacceptable health disparities
    • Advances equal treatment for women by increasing funding for the range of health services, including family planning, covered by Title X and repealing the discriminatory Hyde Amendment

 

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

  • In 2022, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill provides $196.7 billion for USDA programs including those funded on an annual basis and those such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The legislation:
    • Tackles hunger and nutrition insecurity by expanding access to fruits and vegetables to 6.4 million people through WIC and ensuring 45 million people in SNAP-eligible families get the benefits they need. The bill also invests in the health of America's kids through Child Nutrition programs, such as school meals.
    • Grows opportunity and lifts up rural communities by increasing funding for rural broadband, connecting more communities to the internet, which last year got more than 100,000 people connected to the 21st century economy.
    • Rebuilds our public health and consumer safety infrastructure with increased funding to address maternal and infant nutrition, including resources for the 'Closer to Zero' initiative to reduce exposure to toxic elements in babies' and young children's food, emerging food-related chemical and toxicological issues, drug safety oversight, as well as providing additional resources for inspections, and drug and device supply chain monitoring and surveillance. The bill also invests in our public health infrastructure by modernizing FDA's data infrastructure to better ensure the safety and security of the food and medical supply chain.
    • Confronts the climate crisis with $347.4 million across USDA to address the impacts of climate change. These investments are aimed particularly to tackle the climate crisis in farming and rural communities and include research to monitor, measure, and mitigate climate change, accelerate climate smart agriculture practices, reduce greenhouse gases, and advance clean energy technologies.
    • Provides important investments to ensure equitable participation in USDA programs. The bill provides funding to address racial inequities, including increases for extension, research, and capacity grants at our 1890 land grants, 1994 land grants, and Hispanic serving institutions to help strengthen the pipeline for the future of agriculture. It also improves outreach and program access to historically underserved communities and supports USDA's Office of Civil Rights.

 

Energy, Water Development, and Related Agencies

  • In 2022, the Energy, Water Development, and Related Agencies bill provides $53.226 billion, an increase of $1.474 billion above 2021. The legislation:
    • Creates tens of thousands of good-paying jobs with a focus on deploying clean energy technologies and the green jobs of tomorrow in communities across the country
    • Confronts the climate crisis with more than $14 billion of transformative investments in clean energy and science, which will help develop clean, affordable, and secure American energy
    • Rebuilds our nation’s water infrastructure, critical to protecting communities from more frequent and severe storms and addressing the worsening drought

 

Financial Services and General Government

  • With $29.1 billion in funding, an increase of $4.8 billion over 2021, the 2022 Financial Services and General Government funding bill:
    • Assists small businesses and entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration and Community Development Financial Institutions
    • Protects our democracy with Election Security Grants to ensure the integrity and safety of our elections
    • Rebuilds the Internal Revenue Service to finally crack down on big corporations and the wealthy who aren't paying their fair share and to provide better customer service to working families navigating the tax system
    • Supports working and middle-class families by increasing funding for consumer protection activities at the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Trade Commission
    • Confronts the climate crisis by providing funding to start the transitions of the Federal vehicle fleet to electric and zero emission vehicles

 

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

  • The 2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill provides $43.4 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of $7.3 billion – 20.2 percent – above 2021. There is also an additional $2.45 billion of funding for fire suppression. The legislation:
    • Creates good-paying American jobs through investments in renewable energy development, including offshore wind, and a national initiative to reclaim abandoned mines and cap orphan oil and gas wells
    • Supports Native American families by investing in a strong and resilient Indian Country, including through education and health care programs
    • Confronts the climate crisis by expanding environmental enforcement efforts, creating a Civilian Climate Corps, and launching a renewed focus on land and water conservation
    • Dramatically expands environmental justice efforts to address unacceptable pollution in communities of color
    • Honors the federal government’s responsibilities to Native Americans

 

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

  • In 2022, the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill provides funding of $84.1 billion, an increase of $8.7 billion – more than 11 percent – above 2021. This includes an increase of $6.8 billion is for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $1.9 billion for the Department of Transportation. The legislation:
    • Creates tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure with significant investments in airports, highways, transit, passenger rail, and port systems
    • Grows opportunity through homeownership and rental assistance, including more than 125,000 new housing vouchers targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness and over 4,000 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities
    • Supports the vulnerable with public housing safety, maintenance and improvement investments, such as the remediation of lead paint and radon and installation of energy and water efficient systems
    • Promotes safe transportation and housing with a skilled and growing workforce to conduct inspections, mitigate hazards, and study emerging threats and innovative solutions
    • Reduces emissions, increases resiliency, and addresses historical inequities in transportation and housing programs through targeted grants and investments