Deutch Statement on Passage of Bipartisan FY20 Spending Agreement
Following passage of the bipartisan spending agreement for fiscal year 2020, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) issued this statement:
"The American people elected a new majority in the House, one that would work with Republicans while standing firm on Democratic values to make our country healthier and stronger. With this bipartisan spending bill, Congress is investing in initiatives to prevent gun violence, protect our environment, expand access to healthcare, and care for our veterans at risk of homelessness and suicide.
"Our gun safety majority secured historic wins to keep communities safe from gun violence. After more than 20 years of being blocked from basic research, Congress will fund $25 million for gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health. We are devoting $125 million to STOP School Violence Act grants, a bipartisan bill I introduced that first passed Congress one month after the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School. In addition, Congress is providing the Department of Justice $78.3 million to improve the NICS firearms background check system.
"This spending bill affects us directly in Florida. Congress is extending the National Flood Insurance Program, which helps stabilize flood insurance premiums for Floridians. It also provides $1.8 billion for disaster relief for natural disasters, including hurricanes that devastated our state. We emphasize the growing threats of climate change by increasing the budgets for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, National Weather Service, and climate research initiatives. And continuing our commitment to strengthen our democracy, we directed $425 million for election security grants.
"Congress is making investments to improve the health, education, and well-being of Americans. For example, we are raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco to 21. In addition, we are making important investments in medical research to continue progress toward the next generation of treatments and cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and others. We are making higher education more accessible to lower-income students by increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $6,345. This legislation also brings stability to the SNAP program to ensure that Americans who are struggling with food insecurity receive the help they need to feed their families.
"We are directing $75 million to implement the First Step Act, a major bipartisan law to reform our criminal justice system. To help more lower-income Americans access legal representation, we are increasing the budget of the Federal Defender Services to $1.23 billion and the Legal Services Corporation to $440 million.
"We are funding the Legal Orientation Programs to help people navigating the immigration court process. We fought against Republican efforts to increase ICE's detention bed mandate and fought to secure $319 million for Alternatives to Detention, an increase of $44.6 million.
"Congress is reaffirming American priorities in our foreign policy. The spending bill funds full security assistance for Israel pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the Obama Administration, including vital funding for Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow. The bill strengthens security in Israel and the West Bank by restoring humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. It also includes my Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, a bipartisan bill to highlight and support the growing partnership in the eastern Mediterranean between Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.
"In our own hemisphere, the bill provides crucial funding for improving security and stability in Colombia, Mexico, and Central American countries, and support for democracy as Venezuelans suffer under the Maduro regime. We also fund important efforts to counter Russian and Chinese influence globally.
"Amid a deeply troubling rise in violent and deadly anti-Semitic attacks across our country, Congress directs $90 million for Homeland Security non-profit security grants for institutions like synagogues and Jewish Community Centers to strengthen security measures.
"How Congress allocates federal funds is a reflection of our values and priorities. I’m proud of this spending bill that shows the American people how Democrats and Republicans can work together to make our nation safer, healthier, and stronger."
Tags: Growing our Economy and the Middle Class, Quality, Affordable Health Care, Health and Financial Security for Retirees, Advancing a Strong, Smart Foreign Policy, A Cleaner Environment and Safer Climate, Protecting Israel's Security, Honoring our Veterans, Criminal Justice, Civil Rights, and Consumer Protection, Campaign Finance Reform and a Democracy for All, Fighting Anti-Semitism and Protecting Holocaust Survivors, Gun Violence Prevention