U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., today highlighted funding for key central Florida priorities in the recently-announced bipartisan agreement that would fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Murphy said the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations Act would provide funding for a variety of education, transportation, manufacturing and small business initiatives that are critical for central Florida and the country. Murphy said she supports the current agreement, which is expected to be considered by the House and Senate this week.
“While there are many wins in this bill for central Florida, I am frustrated that we are just now passing an appropriations bill seven months past the deadline. This is no way to govern,” said Murphy, who has helped introduce the No Budget, No Pay Act
. “Congress should do its job and pass a budget and all appropriations bills on time or they don’t get paid. It’s the only way we’re going to rein in deficit spending and provide stability in our nation’s economy. I will keep working with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure central Florida gets the support we need on key priorities that help us grow and thrive.”
Murphy highlighted some of the most important provisions in the bill for central Florida:
- The omnibus includes $16.06 million for the Federal Transit Administration to continue support for SunRail Phase 2, which will link Sand Lake Road in Orange County to Poinciana in Osceola County. The entire Phase 2 South expansion project is a 17.2-mile segment that will add four additional stations to the existing rail system and is expected to be up and running by early 2018.
- Central Florida is home to many colleges and universities, and a significant percentage of students can only afford a higher education because of the Pell Grant program. The omnibus increases the maximum Pell Grant by $105 to $5,920 for the 2017-2018 school year and reinstates the year-round Pell Grant, which will provide one million students, on average, an additional grant of $1,650. This will enable students to more quickly finish their degrees and join the workforce.
- The omnibus provides $25 million for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a program administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology within the U.S. Department of Commerce. This funding is a critical first step to securing a grant to the new BRIDG research center in Osceola County, which will research and manufacture microchips, nano-technology and photonics. Murphy, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is working with U.S. Congressman Darren Soto, since this technology has military applications. In addition, the University of Central Florida, which is located in Murphy’s district, is a key participant in this public-private partnership.
- The omnibus provides $886.8 million for the Small Business Administration, which is $15.8 million more than the amount appropriated in 2016. Murphy, a member of the Small Business Committee, has been a strong proponent of SBA programs that assist aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. She recently led a bipartisan letter in support of these programs to the House Appropriations Committee, which was signed by 39 Members of Congress from both parties.
- The omnibus provides $295.9 million to strengthen Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, which is not fairly funded by the federal government. Murphy recently sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan in support of improved funding for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, and the omnibus provides a down payment on the work being done in Congress to find a permanent fix to this problem.
U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she serves on the House Armed Services Committee and Small Business Committee. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. Previously, Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor who also served as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Murphy lives in Winter Park with her husband and two children.