ROONEY SUPPORTS CRITICAL FUNDING FOR EVERGLADES, CITRUS, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17), a Member of the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee, tirelessly worked over the past year to secure many victories for his home state of Florida in the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Bill that passed the House of Representatives today by a bipartisan vote of 309-118.
“This is a major victory for the Florida Everglades, citrus research and national security,” Rooney said. “It is a great day for Florida, for our environment, our citrus growers, and for America’s freedom. For over a year, we’ve worked extensively to incorporate conservative funding priorities in these bills and discontinue the Obama-era budget that the government has been operating under since December 2015. A vote against this bill is a vote against critical Everglades restoration funding, against Florida’s orange juice industry and against raises for our service members and upgrades to equip them with the most advanced weapons systems in the world.”
The 2017 Consolidated Appropriations bill is a comprehensive package comprised of the 11 remaining fiscal year 2017 Appropriations bills, which were the subject of hundreds of open hearings and hundreds of amendments on the House floor. Notably, the legislation increases national defense funding by $25 billion, significantly increases funds for opioid addiction treatment and prevention, and includes $1.5 billion for border security technologies and infrastructure improvements, the largest boost in more than a decade. As a Member of the Appropriations Committee, Rooney worked to advocate on behalf of programs important to his home state of Florida and secured, among other provisions, the following funds:
Protects Florida’s Waterways
- Funds Everglades Restoration and the Herbert Hoover Dike - In keeping with the rules of the earmark ban, Rooney requested the Committee support the president’s budget request level for Everglades restoration and the Herbert Hoover Dike construction. The Herbert Hoover Dike received $49.5 million and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, Everglades, FL received $106 million. An additional $106 million will fund CERP and non-CERP projects and Kissimmee River Restoration
- Central and Southern Florida - Secures $14.88 million to provide flood relief and water conservation for the region.
- Okeechobee Waterway, FL - Provides $2.7 million for the waterway which runs through Lake Okeechobee and consists of the Caloosahatchee River on the west side of the lake and the St. Lucie Canal on the east side.
- National Estuary Program – Secures $47.7 million for the National Estuary Program, which will support $600,000 to each of the 28 estuaries in the program, including Charlotte Harbor, Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and the Indian River Lagoon.
- Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – Provides $400 million for the LWCF, which includes $188 million for federal land acquisition. This land conservation is integral to Florida’s ranches and is the most cost-effective method to reduce flooding into Lake Okeechobee and to prevent damaging subsequent water releases into coastal estuaries.
Fights for Florida’s Agriculture Industry
- Combats Against Citrus Greening – Allocates $7.5 million for the Huanglongbing Multiagency Coordination Group’s (HLB-MAC) and $53.8 million for the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP); both programs are critical in the fight against citrus greening disease.
- Promotes Critical Research – provides $2.89 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This funding will support research to help mitigate and stop devastating crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, increase production, and combat antimicrobial resistance.
- Safeguards Farmers and Ranchers - allocates $1 billion to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. Also includes $1.62 billion for the Farm Service Agency, to help support 60,000 American farmers and ranchers.
Protects Our Military
- Large Increase From Obama Numbers – Secures $593 billion, an increase of $19.9 billion over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $16.3 billion more than the Obama Administration’s request, for the Department of Defense.
- Pays Our Soldiers More - fully funds the authorized 2.1 percent pay raise for the military, instead of 1.6 percent as requested by the Obama Administration.
- Increases Defense Health and Military Family Programs – Provides $1.5 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted funding level for the Defense Health Program to provide care for our troops, military families, and retirees. Allocates $312 million for cancer research, $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research, and $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response programs.
- Protects Military Families with Autistic Children – Rooney language included restores ABA reimbursement rates for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Upgrades Our Weapons System – Provides $8.2 billion for 74 Lockheed Martin F-35s, $1.2 billion for 62 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, $6.73 billion for department wide cyberspace operations and $332 million in procurement funding for Israeli Missile Defense Cooperative programs.
Combats the Opioid Epidemic
- Works To Get Drugs Off Streets – Provides $103 million for DOJ opioid abuse grant programs authorized by the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Rooney language included in the bill directs the Department of Justice and the DEA to include fentanyl monitoring, interdiction and testing in their efforts to counter heroin abuse.
- Creates an additional $2 billion in funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration, some of which will establish four new heroin enforcement teams, in an effort to get heroin off the streets.
- Provides $112 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Opioid Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program.
Helps Law Enforcement
- Byrne JAG Grants - Secures $403 million for state and local law enforcement Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which includes $7 million for veterans treatment courts.
- Firefighter Assistance Grants - Provides $690M for FEMA’s Firefighter Assistance Grants, which are provided to departments, like those in Polk County, for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel.
Helps Our Veterans
- Aid Veterans Get Jobs – Allocates $279 million for the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS)
- Provides an increase of $11.9 million over the current level for the Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
- The bill also includes $5 million for a pilot program to enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans.
Invests In Medical Advancements
- Cancer – Provides $174.6 million more for the National Cancer Institute, for a total of $5.39 billion.
- Alzheimer’s - Increases funding for research on Alzheimer' s disease by $400 million to a total of $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2017.
- Lupus – Secures $2 million for the National Health Education Lupus Program, $6 million for the CDC’s National Lupus Patient Registry and $5 million to establish a Lupus Medical Research Program within the Department of Defense, all to help meet the needs of the 1.5 million Americans living with lupus.
Rebuilds Our Infrastructure
- Funds TIGER Grants – Provides $500 million for the National Infrastructure Investment program, aka TIGER grant program. The bill includes Rooney language highlighting the challenges faced by high-growth areas that must provide a local funding match that exceeds the federal requirement in order to complete transportation projects.
- Supports Our Roads – Ensures $44 billion authorization allowing the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program.
- Prepares For Disaster – Secures $528 million for the Emergency Relief Program for qualifying emergency road and bridge repair expenses and $400 million for Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery assistance.
And A Whole Lot Else…
- No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion - Continues the “Hyde Amendment,” which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion.
- Homeland Security Protections - $11.4 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CPB) – this is an increase of $137 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. These resources ensure the nation’s borders are protected by putting boots on the ground, improving technology, and stemming the flow of illegal activities in and out of the country.
- Funds Flood Insurance Protections – Provides $181 million for the National Flood Insurance Fund, which aids in flood management operations, floodplain management and flood mapping.
Click here to learn more about the bill and see the full list of programs it funds and supports.