House Democrats Put Everglades Funding At Risk
Bill As Passed Would Trigger Automatic, Across-The-Board Cuts To Everglades Restoration Funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today slammed House Democrat leadership for putting Everglades funding at risk after they passed an appropriations bill that has no chance of becoming law, and because the bill busts the budget caps put into place in 2011 by $176 billion, would automatically trigger across-the-board budget reductions to federal programs, including untenable cuts to Everglades restoration and environmental protection programs.
“After everything we’ve done fighting for money for the Everglades, instead of just passing a clean bill to protect our waterways, House Democrats attached unrelated provision after unrelated provision—including making it harder to secure our border, spending $100 million advertising Obamacare, expanding abortion and massively increasing our country’s debt. Maybe worst of all, by spending $176 billion more than current budget caps, it would trigger automatic cuts to Everglades restoration and environmental protection programs,” Rep. Mast said. “Instead of wasting time voting on a bad bill that has no chance of becoming law, House Democrats need to put a clean bill on the House Floor that funds Everglades restoration immediately. Let me be clear: I will not stop fighting for this money and will not let these ridiculous political games yet again get in the way of restoring the Everglades!”
Rep. Mast fought for months to include $200 million in Everglades Restoration funding in this year’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill, but at the last minute, House Democrats attached funding bills for several other areas, including defense, health and human services, and labor. The bill now busts the budget caps by $176 billion. As a result of the 2011 sequestration agreement, if this bill is signed into law, it would automatically trigger across the board budget reductions to federal programs, including untenable cuts to Everglades restoration funding and environmental protection programs. The bill, which was originally supposed to fund energy and water programs, now also includes provisions to make it harder to secure our border, spend $100 million advertising Obamacare and expand abortion. As a result, the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate and the President has already threatened to veto it.
In addition to the Everglades restoration money, Rep. Mast also successfully fought to include robust funding for—among other provisions—the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, the National Parks Service’s Everglades restoration efforts, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s harmful algal bloom research, the National Estuary Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s programs in support of Everglades restoration, the U.S. Geological Service’s programs in support of Everglades restoration and the Environmental Protection Agency’s South Florida Geographic Initiative. All of these programs are now at risk, and would also be subject to the cuts, because of the reckless actions of House Democrat leadership.
Timeline of Events
- At the beginning of this year, Rep. Mast urged the White House to include $200 million in Everglades Restoration funding in their budget request.
- In mid-March, the White House released a budget that included less than $70 million in Everglades Restoration funding. Rep. Mast joined Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott and Congressman Francis Rooney (FL-19) in speaking out against that decision.
- Later in March, President Trump visited Lake Okeechobee where Rep. Mast made the pitch to the President to increase Everglades restoration funding, specifically citing the need to prevent harmful algal blooms.
- While continuing to work behind the scenes to convince the Administration to amend their budget request, at the beginning of April, Rep. Mast—as well as Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Francis Rooney (FL-19) and Alcee Hastings (FL-20)—urged the Appropriations Committee to fully fund Everglades restoration.
- Rep. Mast also testified before the Appropriations Committee about the importance of this funding in April.
- Last week, at the urging of Rep. Mast and other members of the Congressional delegation, the President amended his budget request to include $200 million in Everglades restoration.
- The day after the budget was amended, the Appropriations Committee Energy and Water Subcommittee nonetheless passed an appropriations bill that included less than $70 million in Everglades restoration funding.
- Yesterday, after nearly a week of lobbying the committee to increase this funding amount, Reps. Mast, Mucarsel-Powell, Rooney and Hastings led a bipartisan group of Florida Members in formally urging the committee to meet the President’s amended budget request.
- On May 21, 2019, at their urging, the committee amended and passed the FY 2020 Appropriations bill with $200 million in funding for Everglades Restoration.
- On June 11, 2019, House Democrats attached dead on arrival funding provisions for Health and Human Services, Defense, Labor, Education and more to the Everglades funding bill.