Press Releases

HOUSE PASSES FY 2020 APPROPRIATIONS

Washington, December 17, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

HOUSE PASSES FY 2020 APPROPRIATIONS

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, released the following statement after the House passed two legislative packages that together comprise all 12 fiscal year 2020 federal government funding bills:

“I am happy to announce that Congress was able to come together, negotiate our differences, and reach a bipartisan agreement that makes investments to strengthen the Virgin Islands and give every American a better chance at a better life. I am particularly proud that we have fully funded a fair and accurate 2020 Census, and for the first time in more than 20 years, appropriated funding – $25 million – to research gun violence. This agreement represents House Democrats’ commitment to fighting For The People.

“The domestic priorities and international assistance appropriations minibus, H.R. 1865, reflects agreement on extending funding for health programs in addition to eight appropriations bills. This agreement comes after months of discussion between our office and House and Senate Members on the need to resolve the Medicaid Cliff by the end of the year, including increased funding for the territories and a greater percentage of funding from the federal government. The specific Medicaid language negotiated by my office that passed the House today includes the following:

·        $252 million in additional Medicaid funding to the Virgin Islands over two fiscal years ($126 million in each of fiscal years 2020 and 2021);

·        Increases the rate of federal matching funds for Medicaid in the Virgin Islands from 55% to 83% for the remainder of fiscal 2020 and all of fiscal year 2021.  83% is the highest rate of federal match that any U.S. state may receive.

The following amendments that I sponsored were included in the final package:

·        An amendment to prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent the Virgin Islands from implementing its medical marijuana law;

·        An amendment to provide $5 million in funding for micro-grants to improve the quality and quantity of locally grown food in U.S. territories;

·        Amendments to make the Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories eligible for funding reserved for areas of persistent poverty.   This includes funding reserved under programs for rural development loans and grants, economic development grants, and assistance funded by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund;

·        An amendment that repeals statutory caps on Federal Aid Highway Emergency Relief Program aid to U.S. territories.

“The minibus also includes historic investments in Head Start and child care programs, record funding for lifesaving medical research at the National Institutes of Health, and rejects the administrations misguided cuts to schools, health care, infrastructure, environmental protection and clean energy programs. We have outline areas where funding has increased and we are happy that we have not lost any of our vital funding in this package.”

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