House Prioritizes Environmental Conservation, Addressing Gun Violence, Infrastructure Improvements, and Veterans Services in Second Funding Bill

Rep. Shalala Cosponsors Amendment to Ban Oil and Gas Leasing off Florida Coast

Today, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that invests in wildlife and our natural environment, public safety, transportation and infrastructure, and veteran healthcare. Rep. Shalala cosponsored an amendment introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to prohibit the Department of the Interior from leasing areas off Florida coastlines for drilling. The amendment passed and was included in the final passage of the bill. Amendments banning drilling off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts were also adopted.


“Nearly the entire Florida delegation came together to support the ban on drilling off our coasts,” said Rep. Shalala. “This amendment makes clear what we in Florida have known for decades: our oceans are our most precious resources, and we have a duty to keep them clean and healthy.”

The full bill supports additional conservation measures by increasing funding for vital environmental programs and providing for research on climate change. Increased funding for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and similar state programs will help keep communities safe from gun violence. The bill addresses much-needed infrastructure, transportation, and housing improvements through unprecedented funding for a wealth of programs aimed at modernizing highways and ports and expanding affordable housing options. Finally, it invests in veterans’ programs, ensuring that we properly serve those who have served our country.

“This bill reflects South Florida’s priorities,” said Rep. Shalala. “I’m proud to support this bill that invests in our planet, our communities and transportation systems, and our servicemembers.”

The $383.3 billion minibus bill consists of the Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills.

 

The Commerce-Justice-Science division includes:

  • Increased funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to support research on climate change, the development of advanced weather forecasting tools, the reduction of algal blooms, improved management of fisheries.
  • Investments in public safety, including increased funding for background checks and other programs to combat gun violence.
  • Funding for the hiring of new immigration judges to address the backlog of immigration cases.
  • Ample funds for the Census Bureau, as well as a provision mandating that the Census count all people.

 

The Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA division includes:

  • Funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Investments in international food assistance programs, such as Food for Peace and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.
  • Language preventing USDA to finalize a rule authorizing wild horses to be sold for slaughter.

 

The Interior-Environment division includes:

  • Increased funding for the EPA to conduct science and conservation work, support clean water programs, and properly regulate PFAS chemicals.
  • Increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Funding for National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, and other programs that support environmental conservation.

 

The Military Construction-Veterans Affairs division includes:

  • Increased funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to improve veteran healthcare, suicide prevention outreach, claims processing, opioid addiction treatment, and medical research.

 

The Transportation-Housing and Urban Development division includes:

  • A huge investment in transportation infrastructure to modernize highways, roads, and transit systems.
  • Funding for the Maritime Administration and the Port Infrastructure Development Program.
  • Increased housing support for the elderly, people with disabilities, people with AIDS, and veterans.

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