Congresswoman Donna Shalala highlighted significant victories for South Florida’s 27th Congressional District and other communities across America in H.R. 7617, the second “minibus” appropriations bills of fiscal year 2021, which passed the House on July 31.
“Funding is a reflection of our priorities – it tells us about what our government values most,” said Rep. Shalala. “This spending package makes critical investments to improve our nation’s infrastructure, public health, education and job training, expands access to affordable housing, reforms police, supports armed service members, combats climate change, and sets up our communities for continued success.”
There are several notable wins for South Florida in the minibus appropriations package, such as:
- $2.6 billion for operation of the Unemployment Insurance program, an increase of $109 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, including $925 million in emergency contingency funding to help states, like Florida, address spikes in unemployment claims;
- $25.7 billion for Section-8 Tenant-based Rental Assistance programs, an increase of $1.9 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level, to help deal with the affordable housing crisis in South Florida;
- $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, a flexible grant program for states and localities to provide housing and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people. Over the past ten years, Miami Dade County has received more than $130 million in CDBG grants. Already in 2020, the county received more than $18 million. The President wanted to eliminate this program.;
- $730 million, an increase of $61 million above FY20, to allow for the continued hiring of immigration judges to address the immigration case backlog; and
- $150 million, an increase of $10 million above the FY 2020 enacted level to support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to reduce new HIV infections by 90 percent in 10 years, an important development for Miami Dade County which as has one of highest per capita rates of new HIV infections in the United States;
- 250 million in funding for Everglades restoration, $50 million above FY20; and
- Language requiring the military to build climate change resilient installations and ensuring that hurricane-resistant building codes are met for bases, barracks, hospitals and airfields.
Additionally, two of Rep. Shalala’s amendments were included in the final passage of the appropriations package. The first – a bipartisan amendment co-led by Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX) – would require the Department of Health and Human Services to commission a report with the National Academy of Medicine on the differences between state, local, and federal vital statistics and death reporting standards, and provide recommendations on how to harmonize these standards in the future.
The second amendment provides funding to ensure contract requirements between American universities and Confucius Institutes comply with provisions to protect academic freedom at the institution.
H.R. 7617 totals $1.3 trillion in discretionary funding and consists of six FY 2021 appropriations bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Service and General Government, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.
Other notable wins for South Florida included in H.R. 7617:
- $107.2 billion in total budgetary resources for the Department of Transportation, $19.4 billion above Trump’s request;
- $7.6 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including studies, construction, and operation; & maintenance;
- $1.64 billion for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resources projects, including WIIN Act-authorized projects;
- $75 billion in emergency funding to rebuild our nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure;
- $61 billion in emergency funding to expand the availability of broadband to unserved and underserved areas;
- $43.5 billion in emergency spending modernize water and energy infrastructure;
- $24.425 billion in emergency spending to support state and local public health agencies and global health activities;
- $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $5.5 billion above FY20;
- $50 million, an increase of $25 million above FY20, for firearm injury and mortality prevention research at CDC and NIH;
EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING
- $73.5 billion for the Department of Education, $6.9 billion above Trump’s request;
- $24.6 billion for Pell Grants, $1.6 billion above the President’s budget request;
- $808 million for HBCUs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges and other Minority Serving Institutions;
- $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, $1.5 billion above Trump’s request;
- $1.1 billion for TRIO, an increase of $150 million above the President’s budget request;
- $1.2 billion for AmeriCorps, Senior Corps Programs and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS);
- $50.6 billion for Housing and Urban Development, $13.3 billion above Trump’s request;
- $430 million for Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, an increase of $100 million above the President’s budget request;
- $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants;
- Blocks Trump administration rules targeting undocumented immigrants and LGBT people;
- $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, rejecting Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program;
- $356 million for the Economic Development Administration, helping boost struggling communities;
- $273.5 million for Community Development Financial Institutions, rejecting Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program;
- Implements key components of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, with strong funding for police reform;
- Conditions federal grant funding for state and local law enforcement on significant improvements to police practices;
SERVICE MEMBERS AND MILITARY FAMILIES
- Provides full funding necessary to support the 3 percent military pay raise;
- More than $33.3 billion for Defense Health Programs, including $512.5 million for cancer research;
- $12 billion across Department of Energy programs to support clean, affordable, and secure energy; and
- $5.45 billion for NOAA, helping address important priorities such as climate research.