Over the past few weeks, the House has been busy debating how each part of the federal government – including our national defense – will be funded. I’m pleased that in these bills there is good news for South Florida!
We approved funding that invests in South Florida and ensures our priorities – including investments in clean energy, the fight against climate change, critical resources for Everglades Restoration, and water infrastructure – are national priorities. I’m proud we’re funding local health and education programs I fought for, because our economy and wellbeing depend on healthy Everglades and healthy communities. We stood up against President Trump’s proposed extreme cuts to our environment and ensured Florida’s ecosystems are protected. This funding made essential investments in our infrastructure, economy, environment, and communities, so we can all thrive.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a top concern for the Miami area, which has the highest rate of new diagnoses in the country, with racial and ethnic minorities making up three of four new cases. During this process, I led a provision that is critical for Miami-Dade County: an increase in the allocation of funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative Fund by $5 million, bringing the total for the Fund up to $65 million. We can end HIV/AIDS in our lifetimes, but only if we make meaningful investments in research and outreach.
But there were plenty more wins.
We approved funding for critical community development and housing assistance for South Florida, including our request for $170 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, known as NeighborWorks America. NeighborWorks America provides financial support, technical
assistance, leadership development and training for community-based development in the United States. Affordable housing is not easily accessible to many families, so I will keep fighting so everyone in South Florida can have reliable quality housing.
Of all the funding we approved, I am most proud to be supporting our veterans. They have sacrificed immensely for our country, and we must fulfill our promise to take care of them and their families after their service is over. The House approved $222 million for veteran suicide prevention and outreach and included a provision to ensure the veteran crisis line provides an immediate response. The House also stressed the importance of hurricane-resistant buildings that serve our veterans. We cannot allow a hurricane to keep veterans from accessing life-saving services.
We also passed this year’s National Defense Authorization Act – funding that we need to build a strong, smart national defense strategy that prioritizes the fight against one of our biggest threats:
climate change. We cut down on wasteful spending while advocating for our men and women in uniform. I’m proud to have fought and voted for a 3.1 percent raise for men and women serving our great country.
We included important measures to help servicemembers and their
families transition back to civilian life when they choose to do so. If you serve your country, you should feel confident your government will have your back.
Our focus is working for the people – but that also means, especially in South Florida, fighting the devastating attacks of climate change. 97% of climate scientists, NASA, and the Department of Defense agree that climate change is real and a threat, yet some big corporations and the politicians they’ve bought in Washington deny the problem exists and risk leaving the real threat of climate change unaddressed.
We need to keep pushing forward legislation to reach our carbon emissions
reduction goals. We need to be ambitious, and we need to think big, but we need to do so thoughtfully. If we act now, we can protect our kids’ health while spurring innovation, making our economy stronger, and eventually saving Americans thousands of dollars a year in energy and health care costs.
The cost of inaction is becoming too great – we see it in South Florida every day. We can’t delay investments in environmentally-friendly infrastructure, so we can create the good-paying jobs of the future that South Florida needs.
Despite what you may see in the news, there is significant bipartisan
support for a lot of the measures I mentioned above. I have been working with Republicans to fully fund Everglades Restoration for the first time in years; protecting our coral reefs has been a priority for Congressman Francis Rooney and me; and the increased funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative Fund was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support.
My colleagues and I will continue to put pressure on the Senate to move these important initiatives forward, and we need you to make your voice heard, too.
I always want to hear from you, so I best advocate for you in Congress. So please contact me via my website and I promise to keep working so our government works for you.
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell (D) represents FL-26.