VIDEO: Bustos Strengthens Government Oversight, Homeland Security in Appropriations Bills

With Critical Bustos Provisions Included, Homeland Security and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bills Head to House Floor for Final Passage

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass comprehensive Homeland Security and Financial Services and General Government funding bills out of the powerful House Appropriations Committee (Committee). This legislation will now head to the House floor for final passage. Congresswoman Bustos successfully included provisions to rein in wasteful government spending by Cabinet members, help Illinoisans receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), mitigate flood risks in the region, protect our state and nation against acts of terror and support emergency preparedness.

“Transparency and accountability are key to good government. I saw it firsthand working as an investigative reporter where I uncovered stories of waste and corruption,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. “That’s why I worked to include provisions in yesterday’s legislation that will help save taxpayer dollars, hold government officials accountable and promote efficiency in federal agencies that provide support to Illinoisans in times of need.”

Watch her remarks by clicking HERE.

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Bustos’ first bill this Congress was to help clean up corruption in Washington. The Reining In Irresponsible Decorating Expenses (RIIDE) Act cracks down on lavish spending by Cabinet officials and increases transparency on taxpayer dollars used to renovate and redecorate at federal agencies. The RIIDE Act was introduced after former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent nearly $43,000 on a sound-proof phone booth and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attempted to spend $31,000 of taxpayer money on a new dining set. That’s why Congresswoman Bustos included language in yesterday’s bill to prohibit spending more than $5,000 to furnish or redecorate a senior Administration official’s office space, as well as require any official who violates this rule to repay the treasury with interest. Similarly, Congresswoman Bustos included language that would improve government transparency by increasing funding for Oversight.gov – making their resources more efficient and accessible to the public.

Delivering broadband access to small towns across the region is among Congresswoman Bustos’ top priorities. In this bill, Congresswoman Bustos included a provision that would direct the Federal Communications Commission to work with the Federal State Joint Board to complete their evaluation of Universal Service Fund contribution reform efforts to better serve key broadband and telephone service to rural areas.

Recently, our region has experienced heavy rainfall and flooding, which is why Congresswoman Bustos included a provision in the bill report encouraging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide improved technical assistance to states applying for the Predisaster Mitigation Grant Program. Unfortunately, in Fiscal Year 2018, the State of Illinois was denied participation in the program due to submission issues with Illinois’ application, negatively effecting communities like Freeport and Moline. This language helps ensure that instances like this don’t happen again in the future. Also included in the bill was increased funding for FEMA’s RiskMAP Program. This funding, advocated for by Congresswoman Bustos, assists FEMA with identifying flood hazards, assessing flood risks and bolstering mitigation actions with states and communities. Additionally, Congresswoman Bustos urged the Committee to provide adequate funding for FEMA’s Emergency Management Performance Grant Program, which helps provide state governments with a comprehensive, all-hazard emergency preparedness system.

To increase protection for Illinoisans against acts of terror, catastrophic events and cyber-attacks – especially as our country has seen an increase in hate crimes, acts of terrorism and experienced Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election – Congresswoman Bustos included language to ensure adequate funding for FEMA’s State Homeland Security Program, which has been increased by $100 million from Fiscal Year 2019.

Other priorities of Congresswoman Bustos included are:

ELECTION SECURITY – To improve the security and integrity of our elections, this bill provides $600 million in Election Security Grants from the Election Assistance Commission.

CONSUMER PROTECTION – Funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission was placed at $135.5 million – an increase of $8.5 million from the 2019 enacted level and budget request.

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT – This bill provides a total of $995.8 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and an increase of $34 million for the Entrepreneurial Development Programs. It also increased funding for the SBA’s Business Loans Programs.

DRUG CONTROL – This bill does not eliminate the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which the Administration proposed. Instead, it increases border security and provides $300 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program and $100.5 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program.

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