Chair Wasserman Schultz Floor Remarks on Seven-Bill Appropriations Minibus
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 4502, a minibus of seven fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills:
I thank Chair DeLauro for her leadership during this process.
The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies division of the bill highlights our continued commitment to our servicemembers and their families, and to our Veterans.
Constructing the barracks, bases, and training facilities that our military needs is crucial to our country’s military readiness.
Properly funding the Department of Veterans Affairs is how we deliver on the promise of medical care and other benefits that our Veterans have earned through service to our nation.
The Related Agencies, including the American Battle Monuments Commission and Arlington Cemetery, demonstrate how we honor the sacrifices of those who served.
That’s why I’m proud that this bill includes $124.5 billion in discretionary funding –an $11.4 billion increase above the enacted funding level and $1.3 billion above the President’s budget request.
For Military Construction, we provide $10.9 billion for critical infrastructure on military installations, including for seven new Child Development Centers, and to address issues such as mold, vermin, and lead in military family housing.
The bill also invests in climate change and energy resilience at our military bases and provides $150 million for PFAS cleanup at contaminated installations.
For VA, this bill provides $113.1 billion in discretionary funding, including $97.6 billion for medical care that makes record investments in women’s health along with the “whole health” model, mental health and suicide prevention, homelessness assistance, rural health, and opioid abuse prevention.
The bill significantly boosts funding for VA research, to support work studying areas like toxic exposures and traumatic brain injury, and infrastructure improvements to ensure modern, safe facilities to treat our Veterans, as well as continued implementation of the Electronic Health Record Modernization and efforts to reduce the disability claims backlog.
I’d like to thank Ranking Member Judge Carter and Ranking Member Granger. I’m proud to have you as my partners and friends.
I’d also like to thank the staff of both the subcommittee and our personal offices.
This is a good bill and does right by our servicemembers, their families, and our Veterans. It also benefits Floridians and advances our Democratic priorities.
The Labor-Health bill includes $6 million – an increase of $1 million – for the EARLY Act, legislation I authored that educates young and at-risk women about breast cancer. It also includes language to implement my PALS Act to extend breast cancer screening for women 40-49 without co-pay until January 2025.
The Agriculture bill includes important report language and funding for responding to citrus greening disease as well as language and funding to strengthen the regulation of e-cigarettes.
The Energy and Water bill includes a record increases for climate-conscious clean energy programs, and a record $350 million for Everglades restoration. This is $100 million over the enacted level, but I know we can do more.
The Financial Services bill also includes $2 million – an increase of $700,000 – for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act program, which I authored to prevent child drownings.
Additionally, the Interior-Environment bill includes language that orders a full environmental review on oil drilling applications in Big Cypress National Preserve, and further blocks offshore oil or gas drilling in new coastal areas.
The Transportation-Housing bill includes $300 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, a $70 million increase which will help Florida’s ports recover from COVID-19.
Finally, this package includes many of my community funding projects, for water infrastructure repair, healthcare facilities, parks, educational equipment, and more for my South Florida district.
I’m proud to support this package. Thank you, and I yield back.