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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Congressman Bilirakis Issues Statement on Vote to Reopen Government, Support for Bi-Partisan Budget Agreement to Fund Military

February 9, 2018
Press Release

This morning’s vote was difficult for me.  I had to balance my serious concerns about adding to the deficit with the multitude of provisions in the bill that will have a tangible positive impact of the lives of my constituents. Chief among my reasons for supporting this bill was the need to properly fund our military.  This concern was reinforced by President Trump and Secretary Mattis’s support of the bill.  The fact that 80 service men and women died in 2017 due to accidents and training incidents- nearly four times as many lives that were killed in combat, and the belief that those deaths may have been preventable with appropriate funding for training and equipment weighed heavily in my decision-making. There is also a long list of other significant items contained in the bill, some of which I authored, that will benefit seniors, children and the most vulnerable among us.  I’ve included a list of these provisions below.  It was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided to vote my conscience, and do what I believe in my heart will provide the most good for the greatest number of my constituents.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to make long-term, structural reforms to the process including passage of a balanced budget amendment and the meaningful reduction of our national debt,” said Congressman Bilirakis.

Below, Congressman Bilirakis has highlighted the following list of items included in the budget bill that will significantly benefit constituents of District 12:

•Congressman Bilirakis’s provision to reauthorize and fund community health centers, facilities utilized by 25 million people. Locally, thousands of people receive primary care, dental care and mental health treatment at Premier in Pasco County and Community Health Centers  of Pinellas

-Congressman Bilirakis’s bi-partisan initiative to help preserve the long-term stability of Medicare by increasing the civil and criminal penalties for fraud, some of which hadn’t been updated in more than 20 years

              •. Congressman Bilirakis’s effort to help seniors by permanently removing the annual limit on per-patient therapy expenditures

              •A provision to help seniors by closing the “donut hole” in the Medicare Part D program by 2019

              • Funding to dredge the Anclote River to pre-hurricane levels- a public safety matter and economic development project Congressman Bilirakis has been working on for years

               •Over $80 billion in emergency aid to help areas impacted by the natural disasters of 2017, including Florida’s citrus industry which is critical to Florida’s economy

•Approximately $46 billion to fund important initiatives such as critical research at the National Institute of Health for Cures and Treatments for debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, as well as rare diseases, which are not a rare problem.  These funds will   also be used to support the legislation Congress is working on to continue the fight against opioid addiction as well as mental health reform- two issues that Congressman Bilirakis is extremely passionate about 

              •A down payment of $20 billion for much needed infrastructure improvement throughout the nation, which will create jobs and further stimulate the economy while helping to rebuild communities

              •Increased funds to reduce the VA healthcare maintenance backlog

              •A further expansion of the Childrens Health Insurance Program (increased from the 6 years Congress just secured, to 10 years)

              •Extension of the Special Diabetes Program

              •Elimination of the Independent Payment Advisory Board