December 18, 2015


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2029, the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill:
"Today, the House of Representatives did its job and voted to fund the federal government through FY2016. This package will provide the American people, the U.S. economy, and our nation's allies with confidence that the federal government will not resort to additional short-term funding measures or shut down this year due to lack of congressional action.
"I was glad to see that a number of items for which I had advocated made it into the legislation: 

  • "Most notable is $135 million for a new San Antonio federal courthouse to replace the current unsafe, inadequate building. Over the past few years, I've worked with every member of the San Antonio delegation to secure federal funding for the construction of a new courthouse, even introducing legislation that would provide emergency funding for the new building. The San Antonio federal courthouse is one of the busiest in the nation, and this substantial allocation will provide our city with the facility it needs and deserves.
  • "In November, I led a letter requesting $10 million be allocated towards national trauma research, a request that is reflected in the $10 million set aside for a Trauma Clinical Research Program in today's legislation. With the National Trauma Institute headquartered in San Antonio, the availability of these funds is a win for our city and the crucial research it houses for both our military and civilian populations.
  • "Earlier this year, an amendment of mine passed the House of Representatives that increased funding for the Department of Justice's Body Worn Camera Partnership Program to $25 million. Nearly all of that additional funding is included in today's legislation. This substantial increase is a great victory considering the original legislation funded this program at $15 million. As tragic encounters between law enforcement and community members continue to occur across our country, these funds and the technology they afford police departments will help increase officer accountability, mend police-community relations, and improve the safety of American cities and towns. 
  • "In 2015 I also introduced an amendment that would expedite the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) release of promised reimbursements to state, local, regional and municipal entities like Bexar County. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) previously used Bexar County funds to carry out the Mission Reach project with the understanding that Bexar County would be eligible for reimbursement for the federal share of the authorized and constructed civil works project. Today's funding package includes language that supports efforts to reimburse Bexar County funds for projects like Mission Reach. 
  • "America's development work overseas reduces poverty, improves global health, and fosters international stability. Recognizing these significant benefits, last month I introduced legislation that authorizes and augments the capabilities of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Global Development Lab. Language very similar to what's included in that legislation made it into today's package and allows the Lab to use 'innovation incentive awards,' a pay-for-success model that enables the Lab to harness the best ideas available, regardless of their source. 

"All of these aforementioned measures matter to the people of Texas' 20th District, and their inclusion is a victory for San Antonio.
"This sizeable package included additional positive measures worth noting, including a pay raise for Department of Defense military and civilian employees, the reauthorization of a federal healthcare program for September 11 first responders, and a nearly $850 million increase in funding for federal child nutrition programs, including the School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. 
"The legislation also includes provisions that set the United States up for a more secure energy future. Fortunately, lifting of the crude oil export ban is coupled with the inclusion of extensions for wind and solar renewable energy tax credits. I've long called for a more balanced approach to energy policy, and I'm pleased to see that negotiators achieved a compromise that prepares the United States for a sustainable energy future. Extending renewable energy tax credits will incentivize the increased use and development of forward-looking technology. Further innovation will help prepare our nation to meet its energy needs when our finite fossil fuel reserves are depleted. By including the extension of these targeted tax credits, we are enhancing not only America’s energy security, but also our national security, for generations to come. 
"All in all, today's bipartisan funding measure is a responsible development that moves us away from the recent harmful, indiscriminate sequester spending limits. I'm glad the House reached this sensible compromise that includes several provisions I fought hard to achieve for San Antonians and folks across our great nation."
The Senate amendment to H.R. 2029 passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 316 to 113.