Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved the final conference agreement to the FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 5895) that includes funding for Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (Milcon-VA), and Legislative Branch. Advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the bill includes funding for critical infrastructure projects administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, advanced research managed by the Department of Energy, and critical provisions for Florida’s military and veterans.
Notably, the bill also includes the prohibition of funds for equipment produced by Chinese telecommunications firms, Huawei and ZTE.
“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I applaud the Senate’s passage of this funding bill that includes various provisions I secured on behalf of Florida and our veterans,” Rubio said. “Today’s passage will provide meaningful funding for veterans programs and military construction projects across Florida, as well as critical funding for the Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation and Everglades restoration.”
Rubio provisions in the FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 5895):
Energy and Water Development
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation: Full funding of the President’s Budget request (Rubio successfully secured the availability of all additional funding necessary to expedite completion of the Dike by 2022 in the disaster supplemental package). Includes language supporting long-standing congressional direction that the Corps may not require funding in excess of legally required costs shares for studies and project as a criterion for funding decisions, rejecting the initial budget request which would have only made funds available for HHD if the State of Florida commits certain funds.
- Everglades Restoration:
- Full funding of the President’s Budget request ($67.5 million) and makes available up to $50 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in advancing critical construction for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration project;
o Makes available up to $45 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in operating, maintaining, and repairing Everglades restoration infrastructure, including potential reimbursements for federal costs assumed by the South Florida Water Management District and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida;
o Recognizes the importance of restoring America’s Everglades and urges the Corps to expedite validation, preconstruction, engineering, and design work for the Central Everglades Planning Project, and to begin construction as soon as practicable to complement the South Florida Water Management District’s efforts.
o Direction to the Corps to ensure accuracy and transparency of budget justifications for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration projects for FY19;
o Support for the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands project and consideration for the use of reclaimed water to augment the project’s ecosystem restoration benefits to coastal wetlands and Biscayne Bay;
o Support for the Indian River Lagoon-South project and expediting design work on critical reservoirs to collect and clean Lake Okeechobee discharges and local runoff before release into the Indian River Lagoon.
- Funding for Florida Ports and Waterways:
o Makes available up to $500.25 million in additional construction funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in expanding Florida’s coastal and deep draft navigation seaports;
o Provides $1.5 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the operation and maintenance of America’s infrastructure in support of waterborne trade and commerce, including:
§ JAXPORT- $6.56 million
§ Port Canaveral- $4.149 million
§ Port Everglades- $5.85 million
§ Port Manatee- $3.845 million
§ Port Miami- $6.07 million + additional Donor Port funding
§ Port of Palm Beach- $2.785 million
§ Port Panama City- $55,000
§ Port Pensacola- $1.39 million
§ Port Tampa Bay- $980,000
o Makes available up to $50 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in maintaining Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways;
o Makes available up to $40 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in maintaining Florida’s inland waterways including the Okeechobee Waterway.
- Beach renourishment: Makes available up to $55 million in additional construction funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in renourishing degraded beaches (Rubio successfully secured the availability of all additional funding necessary to fully renourish all of Florida’s hurricane-impacted beaches in the disaster supplemental package).
- Shoreline Protection: Makes available up to $8 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in restoring critical seawall infrastructure including at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
- Environmental Infrastructure: Makes available up to $77 million in additional funding for use at the Corps’ discretion in improving wastewater collection and treatment in the Florida Keys and Charlotte County.
- Caño Martin Peña Ecosystem Restoration Project: Encourages the Corps to include appropriate funding in future budget requests to minimize project planning and construction delays of this critical project in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Department of Energy
- Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy: Provides $70 million for marine and hydrokinetic technology research, development, and deployment activities, including not less than $5 million to prioritize infrastructure needs at the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University and other Marine Renewable Energy Center testing sites.
- Advanced Energy Research: Provides $366 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy to catalyze and support development of transformational energy technologies that ensure the nation’s economic and energy security as well as technological advantage over rival powers like the People’s Republic of China.
- Naval Reactors: Encourages Naval Reactors to work with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to ensure there is a long-term plan that meets the Navy’s needs for high enriched uranium in support of the buildup of the US Navy fleet.
- National Nuclear Security Administration: Directs the National Nuclear Security Administration to continue funding for the recapitalization of the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure, while modernizing and maintaining a safe, secure, and credible nuclear deterrent without the need for underground testing and provides $1.919 million to fund the Life Extension Programs and Major Alterations.
- Cybersecurity: Provides at least $20 million for the establishment of a program that will bring cybersecurity into early stage technology research and development across all Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs.
- Advanced Scientific Computing Research: Provides $980 million for the various Leadership Computing Facilities as well as for Mathematical, Computational, and Computer Sciences Research to support the development of critical tools for advanced computing.
- Advanced Materials: Encourages continued coordination in support of the Department of Energy’s ability to impact the materials development cycle from scientific discovery to technological innovation and deployment.
- Prohibition of funds for telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei and ZTE
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (Milcon-VA)
- $1.8 billion for VA’s homeless prevention programs.
- $348 million for Opioid Prevention and Treatment programs in VA.
- Funding for gravesite expansion in Cape Canaveral, FL
- $8.6 billion for VA mental health programs
- Language directing the VA to ensure that physicians with revoked medical licenses are not conducting medical disability examinations on behalf of the Department.
- Language directing the VA to address security deficiencies that GAO recently identified at two Florida medical centers by requiring the VA take steps to improve its overall risk management process.
- Language reiterating concern about the lack of consistency in the VA’s handling of Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water exposure claims.
- Language encouraging the VA to implement innovative approaches to PTSD treatment for veterans utilizing virtual reality in combination with group therapy.
- Language urging the VA to improve oversight of the controlled substance inspection program to reduce opioid diversion within VA Medical Centers.
- Language encouraging the VA to dedicate resources to continue developing partnerships with non-VA organizations to provide veterans access to groundbreaking new cancer treatments through clinical trials.
- Language directing the VA to formulate a strategy to address the physician shortages currently facing the VA Caribbean Healthcare System post-Hurricane Maria.
- Language requiring a report assessing the VA Caribbean Healthcare System’s emergency response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria and identifying areas for improvement.
Florida Military Construction
- Funds five military construction projects for the state of Florida for a total of $174 million, including:
- Naval Station Mayport: LCS Support Facility, LCS Operational Training Facility Addition
- Eglin Air Force Base: F-35A Student Dormitory II, F-35A Integrated Training Center Academic Building
- MacDill AFB: KC135 Beddown Add Flight Simulator Training
- Provides funding to cover three unfunded projects authorized in the FY19 NDAA:
- Main Gate, Patrick Air Force Base
- HC-130J Mx Hangar, Patrick Air Force Base
- Air Traffic Control Tower (North Field), Whiting Field
- Eglin Air Force Base’s Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Initial Joint Training Site: Report language directing the Department of Defense to provide the status of its compliance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision to establish Eglin Air Force Base as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Initial Joint Training Site. Additionally, the report would include a infrastructure plan supporting the JSF IJTS at Eglin AFB, to include completed facilities and associated capacity and current utilization, and how remaining infrastructure requirements have been adjusted to adapt to the training mission.
- Strategic Laydown and Dispersal: Report Language to address the strategic dispersal of US capital ships at major ports and stating that strategic dispersal should be a key consideration in expanding the fleet, and that, as a first step, the Navy should program military construction funding, to include planning and design funds, for necessary infrastructure to achieve strategic dispersal of its fleet, beginning with the budget request, and future years defense program for fiscal year 2020.
- Major Range and Test Facility Base: Provision highlights the continued concern over the lack of investment and sustainment in MRTFB facilities. These ranges, which include Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense Agency facilities are critical to developing and maintaining the Nation’s military technological superiority. In order to support development of emerging advanced technologies, test and training infrastructure and instrumentation must be modernized.
- European Reassurance Initiative: $792 million to fund construction projects in support of U.S. allies through the European Reassurance Initiative.
- Overseas Contingency Operations: $129 million for construction projects in direct support of military operations in the Middle East.
- Military Family Housing: $1.6 billion for construction, operation and maintenance of military family housing, which is $173 million above the FY2018 level. The bill includes construction funding for nine family housing projects.
- Military Medical Facilities: $366million for construction or alteration of military medical facilities. This funding will allow for continued support and care for 9.8 million eligible beneficiaries, including wounded U.S. troops abroad.
- Department of Defense Education Facilities: $388million for essential safety improvements and infrastructure work at four overseas military schools.
- Guard and Reserve: $487million to support the construction needs of National Guard and Reserve forces.
- NATO Security Investment Program: $171 million to provide infrastructure for training, deterrence, and the NATO Alliance’s response to challenges posed by Russia and threats from the Middle East and North Africa.