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Rubio Secures Key Funding to Address School Safety, South Florida Algal Blooms

Aug 23, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved a FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 6157) that includes funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) and Labor, Health and Human, Education, Related Agencies (LHHS). Advanced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the bill also includes key measures to address harmful algal blooms and supporting mental health programs at low-income schools. Rubio also included a measure to prevent Americans’ DNA from going to Chinese and Russian labs for analysis. These are in addition to the priorities Rubio previously secured for DoD and LHHS.
“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I applaud the full Senate’s approval of these crucial provisions that I championed on behalf of Florida. With the harmful algal blooms impacting both coasts of Florida, my amendment provides funding for additional assistance to identify health impacts from the toxins,” Rubio said. “Furthermore, today’s passage includes a provision granting $10 million to increase mental health professionals at low-income schools.”

Rubio provisions included in the FY19 Minibus appropriations package (H.R. 6157):

Amendment to Promote School Safety

  • $10 million grant program to strengthen partnerships between universities and low-income school districts to increase school-based mental health professionals.

Amendment to Expand Mental Health Services in Schools

  • $1 million in funding for schools to used towards telehealth services for mental health in schools to better assist students struggling with mental health issues or substance use disorder. The funds can also be used to train teachers so they’re better equipped to identify and help students that may be dealing with mental health issues.

Amendment to Address Harmful Algal Blooms

  • $1 million in Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC) funding to enhance the public health response to algae blooms.

Amendment to Prevent Americans’ DNA from going to China and Russia

  • Mandates the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report on whether CMS has provided payments for Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries’ DNA to be sent to Chinese or Russian labs for analysis.