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23 Bilirakis Priorities Included in Appropriations Package

December 18, 2019
Press Release

Press Release:  December 18, 2019

Contact:  Summer Robertson 727-232-2921

23 Bilirakis Priorities Included in Appropriations Package

 

Yesterday, the House passed two Appropriations Bills (H.R. 1158, H.R. 1865) which continue to fund operation of the federal government.  In addition to restoring the nation’s military readiness, providing $1.3 billion for a wall on the nation’s southern border and funding the largest pay increase in nearly a decade for active duty military personnel, Congressman Gus Bilirakis successfully negotiated the inclusion of 23 provisions that he either sponsored or co-sponsored. 

 

  • Reauthorizes the BRAND USA Program- This 7-year extension is the longest ever reauthorization of this vital tourism program. 
  • Provides approximately $6 million in funding for Congenital Health Research
  • Implements funding for the Jason Simcaoski PROMISE Act, which I authored and was signed into law in 2016.  This legislation ensures the use of best prescribing practices within the VA, and funds access for alternative and complementary treatments through the VA
  • Offers a total of $402 million in opioid abuse treatment and prevention at VA
  • Includes language encouraging the reunification of Cyprus
  • Appropriates nearly $9 billion for VA MISSION Act implementation
  • Provides $125 million more than requested for Blue Water Navy implementation
  • Allocates $9.43 billion for VA mental health, including $221.8 million for suicide prevention outreach
  • Reauthorizes National Flood Insurance program through September 2020
  • Offers $263 million for FEMA Flood Mapping
  • Includes three years of funding for International Military Education and Training assistance for Greece and for Cyprus
  • Extends critical funding for community health centers through May 22, 2020.  More than 25 million Americans receive their primary care, dental, mental and substance abuse services through community health centers.
  • Repeals the medical device tax, health insurance tax, and Cadillac tax
  • Streamlines the transition of biological products to allow certain medications deemed as a biologic and ensures they get to market sooner
  • Includes funding for the Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries Act, a bipartisan bill I co-authored that will ensure seniors have access to diagnostic lab tests
  • Offers $1.85 billion for the homeless veterans assistance program, which has been a priority of mine
  • Provides funding for implementation of the PACT Act (HR 2498) which will help patients with rare diseases 
  • Extends funding for vital Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories
  • Improves school safety by including $235 million for COPS Hiring program
  • Includes $16 million for research for Parkinson's Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment
  • Prohibits delivery of F-35 aircraft to Turkey, except under NDAA conditions
  • Maintains major Hyde protections for our Pro-Life community
  • Helps continue to address opioid crisis by allocating $378 million in opioid abuse reduction activities through the Department of Justice

 

While I certainly have concerns about the flawed process utilized to pass two bills that were necessary for continued funding of the federal government, and  I believe there were many areas of excess that contribute to our growing national debt, I felt compelled to vote in favor of the much needed funding of our military and border security.  Additionally, I was proud to advocate for inclusion of these critical priorities, which will have a tangible positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Bilirakis.  These legislative victories are proof of the fact that we can accomplish great things when we work together.  However, I still believe we have more work to do as it relates to the need to pass a balanced budget amendment and I support an overhaul of the process utilized to provide greater transparency and scrutiny of spending,” he added.