Rep. Castor: Year-End Federal Appropriations Package Provides Holiday Cheer for Families, Veterans and Tampa Bay Area Neighbors That Will Last Through the Year

Omnibus on the way to President Biden to lower the cost of living, creates better-paying jobs, and support our neighbors



Washington,
December 23, 2022



Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act just in time for the holidays to help families, veterans, small business owners, and students now and into 2023. The “omnibus” also includes vital aid to Floridians devastated by the costliest hurricane season through emergency supplemental funding to respond to the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Overall, the investments will lower the cost of living for hardworking people, make housing more affordable, create better-paying jobs, combat the climate crisis, and keep our nation and communities safe.

“As we continue to fight inflation and the rising cost of living, I was proud to vote for critical investments in better health care for kids, more affordable college and greater support for our veterans and military families.

“Communities like Tampa have felt the pinch of the hot housing market, so I made housing affordability a priority through more robust support for first time homebuyers and increased access to affordable housing, while investing in more housing options for our service members and veterans. We’ll also protect housing assistance for nearly 5 million Americans to ensure they remain in safe, stable and affordable housing. Local communities in Florida will bounce back faster through Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds for recovery from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

“This package supports people struggling to make ends meet by strengthening nutrition assistance, fighting urgent health disparities, ensuring expanded access to health care for children, and supporting the health and well-being of our community of veterans.

“I am also proud to share that this package includes grants for a total of $27,699,164 directly to the Tampa Bay area – from cost-saving energy efficiency upgrades for Feeding Tampa Bay’s new facility to expansion of The Skills Center youth empowerment center in East Tampa to a first-of-its kind Latin Tech Accelerator for Latino entrepreneurs. 2023 is looking bright for our Tampa Bay community, and I look forward to continuing my work with local partners to ensure that our neighbors and small businesses benefit.”

Below are a few highlights from the government funding bill:

Children and Families:

  • Institutes a permanent Summer EBT program, with grocery benefits to replace school meals for 29 million children in low-income families when schools are closed for the summer 
  • Provides 40 million children with 12 months of continuous eligibility for their coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, reducing churn and ensuring kids have stable access to health insurance  
  • Extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years
  • Increases funding for early childhood education programs by $2.8 billion, affecting Head Start, the Child Care Development Block Grant, and Preschool Development Grants 
  • Grants historic funding for the critical Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting initiative, which improves health outcomes for pregnant people and young families who live in underserved communities
  • Directs HHS to research the effects of social media and technology on infants, children, and adolescents 
  • Includes $385 million for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education, helping children’s hospitals train physician residents across the country 
  • Helps our nation’s elementary and secondary students through $18.4 billion for Title I grants to low-income schools and $15.5 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs  

Health: 

  • Five years of increased Medicaid funding for our neighbors in Puerto Rico 
  • New investments in mental health services, which will improve access to medication-assisted treatment, expand our mental health workforce and increase coverage of mental health services, including specific resources for children and youth
  • Passage of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, which uses lessons learns from COVID-19 to improve our preparedness for future public health emergencies
  • Strong guardrails to prevent disruption to families’ health coverage, as states resume Medicaid recertifications next year. 
  • Increase for every CDC Cancer Program, supporting the Cancer Moonshot Initiative 
  • $25 million to continue firearm injury and mortality prevention research at the CDC and NIH 
  • Guidance on diversity action plans for clinical trials, ensuring manufacturers take different demographic categories into account, including pregnant and lactating women 
  • 200 new Graduate Medical Education residency positions, with 100 dedicated to psychiatry residents to address our nation’s mental health emergency   
  • $4 million for the MISSION Zero Trauma Grant program, developing critical partnerships between our military and civilian trauma providers

College Affordability:  

  • Elevated funding for federal student aid programs for college students, with an increase of $500 for the maximum Pell Grant each year and increases in federal-work study, TRIO, and GEAR UP programs  

Veterans: 

  • $21 billion increase for veterans’ health care – including supporting the VA as it implements our landmark PACT Act
  • $3.9 billion to administer benefits, including disability compensation benefits, to support the VA’s effort to decrease their claims backlog 
  • $1.9 billion for caregiver support 
  • $35 million for veterans’ treatment courts
  • $337 million to support improved access to care, including expanded access to transportation and telehealth 
  • $840.5 million for women’s health, to include gender-specific healthcare services, and initiatives and improvements to health care facilities treating our female veterans
  • $13.9 billion for mental health, including $498 million for suicide prevention outreach 
  • $2.7 million for programs to prevent veteran homelessness 

Affordable Housing: 

  • Grows opportunity through homeownership and rental assistance, including more than 12,000 new housing choice vouchers targeted to individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness and over 2,800 new units for seniors and persons with disabilities
  • Supports the vulnerable with public housing safety, maintenance and improvement investments, such as the remediation of lead paint and radon
  • Protects housing assistance with $8.5 billion for the Public Housing Fund, ensuring more than 4.8 million individuals and families continue to remain in safe, stable, and affordable housing
  • Invests $3.6 billion in efforts to reduce homelessness  
  • Includes $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds for recovery from major disasters occurring in 2022 
  • Directs $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program – which will lead to the construction of nearly 10,000 new rental and homebuyer units 
  • Provides $350 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative

Military Construction: 

  • $2 billion for major and minor VA infrastructure construction 
  • $19 billion in defense spending for military construction and family housing, and funding for other priorities projects addressing resiliency and quality of life
  • $360 million for the Air Force to continue to rebuild facilities at installations damaged by hurricanes and flooding, including in Florida 
  • $293 million for construction of new child development centers and planning and design for future projects to address insufficient access to childcare facilities and the poor conditions of existing facilities
  • $90 million for planning and design to enhance military installation resilience 

Climate: 

  • Cleans up pollution while rebuilding our infrastructure with $2.76 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through the Environmental Protection Agency grant programs 
  • Invests in historically underserved communities overburdened by disproportionate levels of pollution with $108 million for Environmental Justice activities 
  • Follows the science and develops common-sense standards to curb pollution with $10.1 billion for the EPA, including $4.1 billion for core science and environmental program work 
  • Includes more than $15.3 billion of transformative investments in clean energy and science, which will help develop and deploy clean, affordable, and secure American energy and create tens of thousands of green jobs in communities across the country. 

Other: 

  • $40 billion in emergency disaster funding to help victims of hurricanes and wildfires throughout our country, to address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, and $1 billion for Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. 
  • $45 billion in security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, as we continue to support their fight for Democracy. 
  • $14.1 billion for the Social Security Administration (SSA) for SSA’s administrative expenses, the largest increase in more than a decade
  • Increasing funding for the National Labor Relations Board for the first time since fiscal year 2010, a sigh of relief for millions of America’s workers
  • Reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which will help thwart future attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power like we saw on January 6th. 
  • Designating a study of wild and scenic river segments of the Little Manatee River (which passes through Hillsborough County) 
  • $ 500 million for NOAA to repair and replace equipment including hurricane hunter aircraft used to track and respond to disasters.   

A detailed summary of the legislation is available here.



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