Towards the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., scored a win when the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on which he sits, passed bills with several provisions the Florida Republican championed.
On Thursday, the Appropriations Committee passed the FY2019 Homeland Security Appropriations bill and the FY2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
“My work on the Senate Appropriations Committee is focused on improving federal programs that will serve to benefit Floridians and the nation,” said Rubio after the committee passed the bills. “I am pleased to see that many provisions I championed on behalf of Florida and Puerto Rico were advanced in these bills, as well as prohibiting the use of funds to buy equipment and services from ZTE and Huawei. These telecommunications companies pose a national security threat to the United States, and I commend my colleagues for supporting this commonsense provision.”
Rubio pointed to several provisions he included in the $55.15 billion Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. These included $10.2 billion for the Coast Guard, including $400 million for the Offshore Patrol Cutter which will be built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City and almost $12 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) including $7.23 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund. The bill also sends almost $5 billion to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which includes $50 million to reimburse airports
—including Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota-Bradenton, Southwest Florida, and Jacksonville—improve their baggage screening. The bill also sends $14.4 billion to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
In the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, Rubio pointed to provisions ensuring the federal government does not buy equipment and services from companies with ties to the Chinese government including ZTE and Huawei. The bill also sends almost $209 million to the U.S. Treasury Department for IT improvements, $159 million for the Treasury Office Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. $250 million to fund the operations of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) fund and $11.25 billion for the IRS.
The committee also passed the 2019 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPS) Appropriations bill which Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, helped shape.
Rubio includes several provisions pertaining to Latin America in the SFOPS bill including $40 million to support efforts to build democracy in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, almost $30 million for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), $515 million for strategy to engage Central America and $391 million for human rights and security assistance in Columbia. The Florida Republican also helped ensure the SFOPS bill contained $3.3 billion in security assistance for Israel, almost $5.75 billion to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) set up by President George W. Bush, $1.35 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and $290 million to the GAVI Alliance for vaccinations. Rubio also championed sending $170 million to the National Endowment for Democracy, almost $242.5 million for the Fulbright program and $65 million to fight human trafficking.
“As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, I support American diplomacy and international development,” said Rubio after the bill passed. “I’m committed to ensuring our nation’s diplomats and national security professionals have the resources required to carry out their important work, including efforts to advance democracy and human rights around the world.”