WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today voted against a funding bill pushed by House Democrats that jeopardizes increased funding for Everglades restoration. Due to unrelated partisan riders added by Democrats in the House, the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, increasing the likelihood of another “Continuing Resolution” before the end of the fiscal year that would delay an increase in funding for Everglades restoration.
“I fought successfully to secure increased funding for Everglades restoration this year, but instead of just voting on that funding by itself, House Democrats have now tied this bill to poison pills like abortion coverage, the closure of Guantanamo Bay, increased funding for the IRS, gender identity policies and millions for pet projects in Nancy Pelosi’s district,” Rep. Mast said. “As a result, this bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, and it’s now likely that Congress will fail to pass an appropriations bill prior to the end of the fiscal year, resulting in a delay in increasing Everglades restoration funding. It is unacceptable that House Democrats are jeopardizing Everglades restoration to advance their radical, partisan agenda.”
Rep. Mast fought for months to include $725 million in Everglades Restoration funding in this year’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill. The Biden Administration instead proposed to include $406 million, at which point Rep. Mast was successful in securing an additional $40 million bringing the total funding included in the bill to $446 million.
At the last minute, however, House Democrats attached funding bills for several other areas, including housing, agriculture and financial services. The bill, which was originally supposed to fund only energy and water programs, now also includes provisions – among many others – that require the Department of Defense to plan for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, increases funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by 7 percent, and funds Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) trainings across the federal government. As a result, the bill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
On February 4, 2022, Rep. Mast sent a letter to President Biden urging the inclusion of $725 million for Everglades restoration in his budget.
In March, 2022, President Biden announced a budget request that instead included $406,982,000 in funding for Everglades restoration.
On April 27, 2022, Rep. Mast submitted a member designated funding request to the House Appropriations Committee. The request was for the full $725 million for Everglades restoration.
On June 24, 2022, at Rep. Mast’s urging, the House Appropriations Committee increased funding for Everglades restoration to $446 million.
On June 28, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Energy and Water Appropriations bill as a standalone piece of legislation, including the $446 million secured by Rep. Mast.
On July 8, House Democrats made a last minute change and announced that instead of receiving a clean vote, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill would be combined with dead-on-arrival funding provisions related to Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; Agriculture and Rural Development; Financial Services and General Government; Interior and Environment; Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs.