Rep. Castor Champions Wins for Tampa in FY21 Omnibus
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor released the following statement as the bipartisan FY21 omnibus and $900B in COVID-19 relief head to the president's desk:
"In addition to the immediate relief provided by the COVID-19 emergency aid in this package, the FY21 omnibus contains priorities that will support our economy and military, lower health care costs, strengthen our fight for clean energy and more. I'm pleased that we came to a bipartisan solution that meets the needs of our community and more. Several provisions that I championed were included in the final package will directly benefit Tampa.
"The bill fully funds a 3 percent pay raise for the members of our military and shows a continued commitment to upgrade base housing for military families. It also provides $9.5B to fund SOCOM's operations and ensures that the brave men and women who are the Tip of the Spear can continue to serve in the world's most dangerous places to keep us all safe.
"My language to direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey public housing authorities to determine how many are known to be built on cemeteries or historical burial grounds was included in this bill and will hopefully provide clarity and peace of mind for families in Tampa and around the country. In identifying lost graves, we can show respect for the final resting place of countless individuals and provide long-awaited peace of mind for their families. The history of Tampa's Zion Cemetery, the Black families buried there, and the imperative to do right by the families who live in Robles Park have brought us to a moment and this direction to HUD will help bring recognition and justice here in Tampa and across the nation at similar sites.
"Today's legislation also includes several key provisions that will help reduce pollution, protect public health, and invest in resilience to keep Americans safe. From phasing down the use of superpollutant hydrofluorocarbons to investing in research that will expand our use of renewable energy, this legislation moves us in the right direction. It takes important steps that we highlighted in our Climate Crisis Action Plan, including extending clean energy tax credits, promoting pipeline safety, and investing in crucial water infrastructure.
"The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) was reauthorized and takes necessary steps to authorize and reform Army Corps of Engineers that will be essential, particularly for Port Tampa Bay, in creating good-paying jobs, upgrading infrastructure and sustaining critical natural resources that sustain and grow our local economies. Important to Tampa and Florida communities, it also includes vital provisions to support land, agriculture, and ocean climate solutions.
"Looking ahead to the new year, serving the needs of Tampa families and businesses remains my top priority. I look forward to the stability that an entire year of funding brings to our local economy and initiatives."
Priorities for Tampa residents and MacDill Air Force Base in this omnibus package:
Provides $1.3 billion to fund construction, operation, and maintenance of military family housing for fiscal year 2021, the same as the budget request, and provides an additional $60 million in an administrative provision. This includes my provision to provide $135 million to continue to address mold and shoddy construction. The additional funds above the request are provided to address family housing issues such as mold, vermin, and lead in military family housing. This funding will ensure quality housing for the 2 million military families currently served by the program.
Provides full funding necessary to support a 3 percent military pay raise.
Provides $9.5 billion to fund SOCOM's operation and maintenance requirements.
Provides $284 million above the request to address public school infrastructure requirements on DoD installations.
Honors our responsibilities to veterans, providing $90 billion for VA medical care, including funding to provide homelessness assistance, suicide prevention and outreach, and gender-specific care.
Ends surprise medical bills for emergency and scheduled care, so patients are only responsible for their usual cost-sharing amounts and deductibles. With patients protected, the legislation establishes a fair process for health care providers and health plans to sort out the out-of-network costs between themselves, without the patient stuck in the middle.
Rep. Castor championed the addition of 1,000 new Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) full-time equivalent (FTE) residency positions, beginning in fiscal year 2023.
Provides pathways to better schools, with $16.5 billion for Education for the Disadvantaged Grants to Local Educational Agencies, an increase of $227 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $12.9 billion for IDEA Special Education Grants to States, an increase of $173 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.
Rep. Castor's proposal to direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey governmental public housing authorities to determine how many are known to be built on cemeteries or historical burial grounds and to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the results not later than one year after enactment of this Act.
Combats the gun violence epidemic, with $25 million split evenly for federal research at the CDC and NIH into our nation's gun violence epidemic.
Expands access to housing by, for the first time, providing $43.4 million in new targeted vouchers to reduce homelessness among families with children, individuals, the unsheltered, veterans, and survivors of domestic violence.
Tackles food insecurity, with robust investments in WIC, child nutrition programs, and SNAP.
Protects our environment by including $9.24 billion, a $180 million increase, for the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure clean air and water and to hold polluters accountable. This funding level is the highest in ten years, and the second highest level of all time. Climate victories championed by Rep. Castor can be found here.
Includes funding for the Coral Reef Program and research to combat harmful algal blooms
The Water Resources Development Act will strengthen and improve our nation's vital water infrastructure that millions of Americans across the country depend on.
Keeps our communities safe by providing $3.3 billion for state and local preparedness grants, training and exercises, an increase of $131.4 million above the fiscal year 2020 level, including: $180 million for non-profit security grants, an increase of $90 million above the fiscal year 2020 level.
Supports hardworking taxpayers, with $11.92 billion, a $409 million increase above the FY 2020 enacted level, to help the IRS increase voluntary tax compliance and close the tax gap; provide timely and quality service to taxpayers; and modernize IRS legacy systems.