Florida Looks Good in Federal Spending Plan

Florida U.S Senator Bill Nelson announced that the $1.3 trillion spending package Congress unveiled this week includes funding for several projects and programs important to Floridians.

It's a package that was signed into law Friday by President Donald Trump.

Those projects, according to Nelson's office, include increased spending to fight the opioid epidemic, additional funding for citrus greening research, and provisions to address gun violence.

Perhaps the biggest news for the Central Florida area, however, was news that the package had $895 million for Kennedy Space Center to modernize launch facilities.

That's more than double what the center received last year.

Nelson requested the increased funding to bolster work on launch and processing infrastructure needed for NASA’s initiative to explore deep space.

The spending package includes more than $67 million in total funding for citrus greening research and the Citrus Health Research Program. 

As citrus greening has hurt growers across Florida, Nelson has advocated for increased funding to study and address the problem to help the state’s citrus industry.

There is also $121 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to purchase a reliable backup for its aging hurricane hunter jet.

Nelson said he has been pushing for a replacement hurricane hunter for NOAA since 2015. 

The funding comes in the wake of several incidents over the last two years when the jet NOAA uses to gather hurricane measurements was grounded during hurricane season.

More than $76 million will go toward funding to protect and restore the Everglades, and $82 million will be allocated to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike. 

U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing for additional funding for dike repairs.

The package increased funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program to $5 million. 

Nelson requested $5 million in funding to provide long-term support and services for Holocaust survivors.

The spending package included several provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence in Florida and across the country, including the Fix NICS Act. 

Nelson cosponsored that bill, which requires federal agencies and states to develop implementation plans to upload to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System all information prohibiting a person from purchasing a firearm; it rewards states who comply with these plans through federal grant preferences, and reauthorizes and improves programs that help states share information on criminal records with NICS, among other things.

Funding also went to the STOP School Violence Act. 

Nelson co-sponsored this bipartisan bill that would allow schools to access federal funds to invest in programs, training and technology to keep students safe.


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