Rep. Soto’s Four Amendments Pass in Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed four amendments introduced by Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) in H.R. 6147, the Interior-Environment, Financial Services & General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Rep. Soto’s amendments will increase funding for tackling invasive species and for the National Estuary program, as well as increase funds for the IRS’s identity Theft and refund fraud casework program and for Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.
Said Rep. Soto: “I’m proud to have another successful round of amendments passed to improve the lives of seniors and those citizens victims of identity theft. In protecting the environment, our amendment to increase funding for Estuaries would help Florida fight toxic green algae bloom currently forming in our state, and our amendment to bump up funding to combat invasive species is specially critical to Central Florida in helping to stop the spread of these foreign invaders in our district.”
The following 4 amendments authored by Rep. Soto passed the House by voice vote:
- Invasive Species Amendment – Increases funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System by $500,000 for the Wildlife and Habitat Management of invasive species.
- “Invasive species threaten native plants, animals, and their vital habits. Currently, invasive species are the most frequently mentioned threat within the National Wildlife Refuge System Threats and Conflicts database and are a growing risk to our ecosystems. As of 2013, more than 2.4 million acres of the Refuge System are impacted by invasive plants, including Lake Hatchineha in our district in Central Florida. With approximately 1,715 invasive animal populations residing on refuge land, it is important we provide enough funds to enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to combat and reduce the harmful impact of invasive species.”
- National Estuary Program Amendment– Increases funding for the National Estuary Program by $468,000.
- “The National Estuary Program protects and restores water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries. Currently, 28 estuaries located along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific coasts and Puerto Rico are designated as estuaries of national significance. Four of these estuaries are in my home state of Florida. With over half of the U.S. population living within 100 miles of a coast, including the shores of estuaries, this amendment will result in an enhanced quality of life for those living along the coast, while maintaining a healthy ecosystem which supports endangered and threatened species. ”
- Tax Counseling for the Elderly Amendment – Increases funding for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program by $1 million.
- “It’s critical that our seniors, especially those from low-income communities, have a place to turn to receive affordable tax advice. Increased funds for The Tax Counseling for the Elderly program will be used to reimburse tax counselor volunteers for their out-of-pocket expenses; including transportation, meals, and other expenses incurred by them in providing tax counseling assistance at locations convenient to the elderly taxpayer.
- IRS Identity Theft Casework Amendment – Increases funding for the IRS’s Identity Theft and refund fraud casework program by $500,000.
- “Last year there were 597,000 tax returns with confirmed identity theft resulting in $6 billion in taxpayer refunds being protected. Identify theft places a burden on its victims and presents a challenge to businesses, organization, and government agencies, including the IRS. When it comes to tax-related identity theft, we as a Congress should expect the IRS to resolve identity theft cases as quickly as possible. My amendment would increase funding to do just that.”
With the passage of this bill, Congressman Soto has now passed 42 amendments out of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 115th Congress. For more information on Rep. Soto’s legislative accomplishments, click here.