Rep. Soto’s 28 Legislative Wins in Appropriations Bill Signed Into Law
The Conference Report to keep the government open and fund important priorities was signed into law on February 15, 2019. The legislation is the product of a bipartisan, bicameral Conference Committee agreement. It includes the following 28 funding provisions– 2 amendments and 26 language report additions – which were spearheaded by Congressman Darren Soto:
- $1,000,000 increased funding for the United States Geological Survey for Sinkhole mapping
- Everglades Restoration – encourages continued support for the restoration of the everglades.
- STEM Engagement – encourages the Smithsonian to create more STEM coordination across the country while also increasing the capacity of the Smithsonian to offer more programs, experiences, and services with STEM education.
- Increased Understanding and Access to Sinkhole Information – encouraged the USGS to advance our understanding of the mechanisms to trigger sinkholes and to expand the information contained on the USGS’s current website
- Advanced Sensor technology for First Responders – expands the Science and Technology Directorate to focus on developing and fielding next generation first responder technologies that utilize advanced sensors and imager technologies.
- Anti-Spoofing Technologies – Encourages the Department of Homeland Security to continue to pursue the development of technologies to combat the practice spoofing by criminals to commit fraud over the phone.
COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE
- Commercial Crew – encouraged NASA to stick to its launch schedule, and asked for an assessment of the ability of contractors to meet the milestones to ensure we have domestic access to the International Space Station.
- Outer Planets and Ocean Worlds – encourages and funds the next generation of deep space missions who’s primary goal is to discover life in the solar system. Specifically the Europa clipper and Europa Lander with a timeline of launch between 2022 and 2024.
- Puerto Rico and US Territories – encourages the Census Bureau to include all citizens of the United states, including those in Puerto Rico and other territories to be included in its estimates of US residents population and other national statistics. Directs report on feasibility of expanding all census surveys to all US territories.
- Orbital Debris Removal – encourages NASA to take steps to develop and acquire technologies that will enable the Administration to decrease the risks associated with, and to remove, orbital debris.
- Virtual Currency Monitoring – encourages the CFTC to monitor virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin futures contracts and the underlying cash markets to which these futures are settled to detect, investigate, and prosecute fraud and manipulation in these markets.
- $26,550,000 increased funds to the Rural Cooperative Development Grants. Final bill funded the program at $29,100,000.
- $1,500,000 increased funds to the Agricultural Innovation Centers. Final bill funded the program at $2,500,000.
- Vector Control – Urges USDA to utilize pest management programs and partner with organizations to conduct research to develop and test effective mosquito repellent, create new molecular pesticide technologies that prevent mosquitoes from reproducing, and explore natural products to deter pests.
- Zika Outreach and Education – directs the USDA to either continue or expand its education and outreach efforts through the WIC program to provide pregnant women zika prevention information.
- $1,000,000 increased funding for tax counseling for the elderly, for a total of $9,890,000.
- $500,000 increased funding for IRS Identity Theft Casework for a total of $5,500,000.
- Puerto Rico Assessment – directs the Treasury Department to provide a report to the Congress on how the Department has used its authority to provide technical assistance to Puerto Rico for the past fiscal year and how it plans to use its authority for fiscal year 2019.
- Financial Literacy – encourages the Department of Treasury to explore ways to expand federal financial literacy programs, especially in rural communities.
- Increase broadband access in the Territories and Tribal Lands – concern about the disparity in access to broadband access between the territories, tribal lands, and 50 states. Encourages the FCC to implement policies that increase broadband access in the territories and tribal lands.
- Cybersecurity safeguards – encourages the department of treasury to coordinate further development of workable cybersecurity safeguards across the financial service sector.
TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, URBAN DEVELOPMENT:
- $678,000,000, increased funding for housing for the elderly.
STATE AND FOREIGN OPERATIONS
- $65,000,000 increased funds to combat trafficking in persons. Final bill funded the program at $67,000,000.
- $15,000,000 increased funds to promote democracy and rule of law in Venezuela. Final bill funded the program at $17,500,000
- Burma – increased bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance to support the Burmese refugees and Rohingya minority.
- Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons – requires that the National Human Trafficking Resources Center hotline phone number to be posted at all US embassies where visas are processed and on US embassy websites where visa application information is posted.
- USAID to Burma – expands support to provide crisis assistance and recovery programs for refugee returnees and internally displaced people.
- Rohingya refugees – makes the plight of the Rohingya minority in Burma and Bangladesh a priory within the State Departments bilateral relations with Bangladesh.