Washington, DC– U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement on House passage of the FY’21 minibus Appropriations package (H.R. 7608), consisting of the State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bills.
The package, which includes $259.5 billion in discretionary funding, passed today by a vote of 224-189 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
A member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Congressman Crist was able to help secure the following wins for Pinellas communities and families in the legislation:
- Language prohibiting drilling and seismic testing off the coasts of Florida, including in the eastern Gulf, a policy that would protect our coasts from disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and safeguard coastal communities.
- $68.3 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $25.1 billion for child nutrition programs, and $5.75 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to support the over 3 million Floridians who depend on these programs to keep food on the table for their families.
- $170 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, funding that will help support the arts community in St. Pete and across Pinellas that have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- $5 million for veterans to access clinical trials at National Cancer Institutes, like Tampa’s own Moffit Cancer Center.
- Over $15 million in federal funding for Everglades restorationand conservation.
- $69.9 million in support for Florida’s citrus industrythrough funding citrus greening research and response programs to keep Florida’s iconic $8.6 billion citrus industry healthy and running.
- $50 million for the Defense Access Roads programto upgrade the roads and bridges connecting military installations like MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, which are at risk of damage from flooding and sea level rise.
- $5 million to protect the VA, Veteran Service Organizations, and Veterans from social media phishing and disinformation scamsthrough a Data Protection Pilot Program.
- $500 million for the Green Climate Fundto help developing countries lower their reliance on fossil fuels and enhance their ability to mitigate and respond to climate change.
- $6.3 billion to fight HIV globally.
- $10 million for the Global Equality Fundto work with our international partners to build and strengthen protections for LGBTQ people around the globe.
- Repeals the Global Gag Rule, which prohibits funding from going to any international aid organizations that provide abortion services or counseling, even if those organizations do not use federal money to provide those services.
“Today, the People’s House passed legislation to protect the environment, preserve democracy, advance diplomacy, care for our veterans, and keep Pinellas families safe,”said Rep. Crist.“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am proud that this legislation includes provisions to protect our coasts from the threat of offshore drilling, while strengthening food security for millions across the country, and safeguarding our state’s natural environment - from our unique Everglades to iconic Florida oranges.
“For veterans, this bill also increases veteran access to clinical trials, combats phishing scams and disinformation campaigns targeting veterans, and includes the largest VA budget in history. On the world stage we continue American leadership by investing in efforts to help developing countries reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and advocating for LGBTQ equality globally. A budget is a statement of our principals and beliefs as a country, and this budget shows we are serious about solving, not ignoring, the challenges facing our communities, our state, our country, and the world.”