U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement regarding passage of the bipartisan congressional budget deal this morning:
"Passage of the bipartisan budget deal is particularly important to Tampa Bay area families, veterans and service members. Medical researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of South Florida can continue to find the cures of tomorrow and improve treatment of diseases due to the boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health. Our service members at MacDill Air Force Base, including Air Mobility, Central Command and Special Operations Command, can plan ahead and make strategic decisions for America's national security that were previously put on hold due to damaging temporary funding bills from the Republican-led Congress. Communities across Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive the resources to recover from a devastating hurricane season. Significant new funds for veterans, children's health care, community health centers and opioid addiction also are contained in the package.
"While Republicans did not allow it, I voted on the floor early this morning to proceed to take up Rep. Roybal-Allard's (D-CA) H.R. 3440, the Dream Act of 2017. Republicans have continually refused to take up this legislation to reform our nation's broken immigration system. Pres. Trump's September announcement to end DACA makes it necessary for Congress to act now. It is vital that the focus shift now to provide a pathway to citizenship for our DREAMers and Republicans must stop blocking debate and a vote.
"I am very pleased that my bill sponsored with Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) to increase fines and penalties on Medicare fraudsters was included in the package and is set to become law. New monies also are directed to tackle the backlog of Social Security disability claims and I will press for a portion of the funds to be directed to the Tampa office to address the huge backlog of disability claims."