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Rubio Secures Key Funding Provisions for Florida
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2019 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill and the FY2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which includes key provisions advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), such as funding for critical military construction projects, improved services for veterans, transportation, infrastructure and affordable housing programs.
“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am working to ensure the Senate adequately funds projects and programs important to Florida and for our nation. I’m pleased to see that many provisions I championed on behalf of Florida were advanced in both bills,” said Rubio. “The MilCon-VA bill includes significant funding for veterans programs and military construction projects throughout the state, as well as funding for opioid treatment programs and PTSD research. The THUD bill makes funding available to enhance critical infrastructure projects in Florida, provide housing assistance to at-risk youth leaving foster care, and reduce homelessness. These are just a few examples of the many provisions that will benefit Floridians all across the state.”
Selected Rubio provisions in the FY19 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill:
- 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.
- $1.8 billion for VA’s homeless prevention programs.
- Language encouraging the VA implement innovative approaches to PTSD treatment for veterans utilizing virtual reality in combination with group therapy.
- Over $400 million for Opioid Prevention and Treatment programs in VA.
- 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.
- Funding for Phase 2 of the Cape Canaveral Gravesite Expansion.
- 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
- 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.
Rubio provisions in the FY19 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill:
Language restricting funds from being used to purchase telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation or other high risk information systems.
- $1 billion for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants, previously known as TIGER grants.
- $2.6 billion for Capital Investment Grants.
- Report language encouraging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to finalize its 2015 rulemaking to improve truck underride safety.
- Report language recognizing the crucial role test equipment plays in rail safety and encouraging the Federal Railroad Administration to replace numerous legacy and aging test and diagnostic equipment to increase safety.
- $818 million for the Maritime Administration, including $300 million for the Maritime Security Program and $20 million for the Assistance to Small Shipyards grant program.
- Makes available $3.5 million to reimburse airports and businesses, including those in Florida, for the costs incurred related to Temporary Flight Restrictions due to Presidential Travel.
- $25 million for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation.
- $168 million for FAA’s Federal Contract Tower Program.
- $3.35 billion for Airport Improvement Program grants.
- Report language directing the Secretary of Transportation to coordinate with the Secretary of Agriculture and update the definition of “livestock” to include fish.
- Report language directing the Secretary of Transportation to coordinate with the Secretary of Agriculture, stakeholders, and authorizing committees to address the implementation of electronic logging devices by drivers transporting live animals.
Housing and Urban Development:
- $20 million to fund the Family Unification Voucher Program to house post-foster care at-risk homeless youth.
- $1.9 billion to fund the section 8 tenant-based rental assistance.
- $25 million to fund emergency capital needs including safety and security measures necessary to address crime and drug-related activity.
- Makes the Family Self Sufficiency program available to all project-based section 8 multifamily properties, which provides resources to help HUD-assisted families achieve economic upward mobility.
- Reduces regulatory compliance for youth at risk of homelessness.
- Relieves mortgage lender penalties for increased default rates as a result of Presidentially declared natural disasters that occurred in 2017 and 2018.
- Directs HUD to produce a study on local constraints impacting affordable housing supply.
- Report language highlighting the Committee’s concern with lack of HUD-VASH transparency and utility rates.
- Provides translation assistance to persons with limited English proficiency for HUD provided services.
- Includes enhanced Real Estate Inspection Center (REAC) guidance to improve safety and sanitary conditions for multifamily housing.
- Funds the section 4 Capacity Building Program, which strengthens the nation’s low income urban and rural communities by bolstering non-profit community developers.
- Funds the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), which addresses the housing needs of persons with HIV/AIDS and their families.