Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted to pass H.R. 7617, the second “minibus” of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills. H.R. 7617 consists of six appropriations bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Service and General Government, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.
This appropriations package makes a $1.3 trillion strong investment in America’s communities, includes seven amendments offered by Congresswoman Escobar, and incorporates many of the funding priorities she fought for that are critical to El Paso – from additive manufacturing to modernization of land ports of entry.
“Families in El Paso understand the need to increase investments that expand opportunities for all. The Trump administration’s callous proposal to slash these investments is the wrong approach at a time of unprecedented crisis when we should be doing more, not less, to help families and communities,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “I was proud to vote for this House Democratic spending package to protect First Amendment rights, improve our nation’s infrastructure, prioritize mental and physical health in border communities, invest in education and job training, expand access to safe, affordable, and fair housing, address police reform, support servicemembers and military families, combat climate change, and set up El Paso for continued success.”
Congresswoman Escobar’s amendments in H.R. 7617:
Division A – Defense
- Ensuring that the U.S. military is not used in contravention of the First Amendment.
Division B – Commerce-Justice-Science
- Prohibiting funds from being used to enforce the zero-tolerance prosecution policy memo at the Department of Justice that is used to separate immigrant families.
- Ensuring that federal law enforcement is not used in contravention of the First Amendment.
Division F – Labor-HHS-Education
- Encouraging HHS to streamline Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) grants.
- Urging the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission to develop and implement a binational strategy to address COVID-19 in the border region.
- Prohibiting funding from being used to enforce the CDC’s order that allows the Trump administration to expel vulnerable migrants, including children, from the U.S. without due process.
Division G –Transportation-Housing and Urban Development
- Highlighting the need for collaboration between state and local governments when determining what projects along the U.S.- Mexico border will receive federal funds set aside for border state infrastructure in the Federal Aid Highways account.
Below are a number of notable wins for American communities, including El Paso, in H.R. 7617:
- $107.2 billion in total budgetary resources for the Department of Transportation, $19.4 billion above Trump’s request
- $7.6 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including studies, construction, and operation & maintenance
- $1.64 billion for U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resources projects, including WIIN Act-authorized projects
- $75 billion in emergency funding to rebuild our nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure
- $61 billion in emergency funding to expand the availability of broadband to unserved and underserved areas
- $43.5 billion in emergency spending modernize water and energy infrastructure
- $24.425 billion in emergency spending to support state and local public health agencies and global health activities
- $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $5.5 billion above FY20
- $50 million, an increase of $25 million above FY20, for firearm injury and mortality prevention research at CDC and NIH
Education and Job Training
- $73.5 billion for the Department of Education, $6.9 billion above Trump’s request
- $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, $1.5 billion above Trump’s request
- $50.6 billion for Housing and Urban Development, $13.3 billion above Trump’s request
- Blocks Trump administration rules targeting undocumented immigrants and LGBT people
- $3.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, rejecting Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program
- $356 million for the Economic Development Administration, helping boost struggling communities
- $273.5 million for Community Development Financial Institutions, rejecting Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program
- Implements key components of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, with strong funding for police reform
- Conditions federal grant funding for state and local law enforcement on significant improvements to police practices
Service Members and Military Families
- Provides full funding necessary to support the 3 percent military pay raise
- More than $33.3 billion for Defense Health Programs, including $512.5 million for cancer research
- $12 billion across Department of Energy programs to support clean, affordable, and secure energy
- $5.45 billion for NOAA, helping address important priorities such as climate research
A division-by-division summary is available here.