WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after Congressman Curt Clawson (FL-19) announced he would not seek re-election this fall.
“Curt is a champion for the Caloosahatchee River and for the Everglades. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work closely with him on a number of issues important to Southwest Florida. He has become a personal, trusted friend. I will miss his insight and sense of humor in the halls of the Capitol. I wish him and his family the best.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act of 2016.
“I believe we need to provide and spend every dollar needed for Zika prevention, treatment, and response programs, and not one penny less. It is significant to note that the funds proposed in today’s bill - $622.1 million – are not the only funds immediately available for Zika response. Last month, after repeated requests from Congress, the Administration identified $590 million in existing unused Ebola funds and other funding to address immediate Zika needs. This will total almost $1.3 billion to combat Zika this fiscal year alone. If more funds are needed, Congress will do what is necessary to make sure additional funds are available. It is crucial the Obama administration and the Centers for Disease Control provide Congress with detailed information as to how they plan to spend these proposed funds. Congress has a responsibility to American taxpayers that their hard-earned dollars are spent efficiently and effectively, much unlike the fiasco with the ‘shovel-ready’ programs.
“I am grateful to Chairman Rogers for his leadership on this issue, and I am committed to continue working with him and my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to address Zika funding.”
WASHINGTON - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after introducing the draft fiscal year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. The legislation will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
"This bill provides for our nation's transportation and housing needs, while making tough choices to protect hard-earned taxpayer dollars. It recognizes the need to house the most vulnerable and get critical infrastructure back on track. Most importantly, it will ensure the safety of our infrastructure and improve the quality of our public housing programs.
"As I continue seeking answers on why the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found the Homeless Trust's programs ineffective and its grant application to be less competitive, I am taking action to prioritize funding for essential homeless assistance grants vital to South Florida's most needy. These programs, which provide support services, as well as transitional and permanent housing, are funded at $2.487 billion, which represents an increase of $237 million over current levels. Very few programs in the bill are receiving an increase of this magnitude, and I am grateful to be able to aid our community in a time of great need. Specifically, I am increasing funding to programs that will directly benefit South Florida: $40 million in supplemental Emergency Solutions Grant funding to be distributed to communities that have recently lost significant funding within their continuum of care program, and at least $5 million for technical assistance to high-needs communities. It is becoming clear the Homeless Trust and Miami-Dade County are in need of HUD assistance to improve their homeless programs. Introducing the bill this morning is the beginning of a lengthy legislative process, but I am committed to ensuring that resources are available so that South Florida can better compete and improve the quality and scale of their homeless services."
Diaz-Balart's bill recommends $2.487 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants. Within that allotment, no less than $2.014 billion is provided to support continuum of care program renewals, at least $270 million is for regular Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and an additional $40 million in formula funds for rapid re-housing and other critical activities like emergency shelter and street outreach in communities that have recently lost significant capacity to serve persons experiencing homelessness. Further, the bill provides no less than $15 million for technical assistance to continuum of care communities, including no less than $5 million for high need communities. Miami-Dade County would be an eligible recipient of both the supplement ESG funding and technical assistance.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-05) introduced a bill proposing $622.1 million in FY16 funds to combat the Zika virus in the United States.
“The funds proposed to combat Zika are critical. This horrible disease has the capability to infect many, and we must focus on stopping it before it continues to spread. This is especially important in Florida, where the spring and summer seasons are especially rainy, creating a breeding ground for mosquitos. It is imperative the Centers for Disease Control and the Administration provide Congress with detailed guidance on how they plan to spend these proposed funds. Congress must know these funds will be spent efficiently and effectively to battle this disease.
“I want to thank Chairman Rogers for his leadership on the issue and ensuring that the United States is prepared to combat Zika.”
The legislation includes:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) encourages families and individuals to prepare for Hurricane Season. Diaz-Balart promotes National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which begins this Sunday, May 15th and runs through Saturday, May 21st. The 2016 Hurricane Season begins on Wednesday, June 1st.
“Though Florida has been fortunate in the last several years, we must not let our guard down. If we prepare our families, homes, and communities now, we can protect ourselves from these natural disasters,” said Congressman Diaz-Balart.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) kicked off their annual National Hurricane Preparedness Week to create awareness leading up to the start of the season.
More information and ideas can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes. Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flooding is available at www.weather.gov or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. Congressman Diaz-Balart’s website has a list of emergency preparedness resources, including checklists in English and Spanish.
“I'm pleased to see that members from both sides of the aisle have come together to combat an issue affecting communities around the country. Opioid addiction is a serious problem, and the House has approved a package with 18 bills that help to confront the crisis. From bringing together healthcare stakeholders and experts to create a task force that will identify best practices, to awarding grants to state, local, or tribal governments to collaborate ideas on ways to help alleviate the crisis, these bills provide the resources and the guidance our cities, towns, and states need to begin the battle against opioid addiction.”
To see the entire set of bills passed to fight opioid abuse in the United, please click here.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) met with Florida Governor Rick Scott to discuss the Zika virus.
Rep. Diaz-Balart said: “This afternoon, I met with Governor Scott to discuss the ongoing battle with the Zika virus. As Floridians, we understand the urgent need to address this public health issue. It is significant to note that because of pressure from the House Appropriations Committee, the Administration has transferred and made $600 million immediately available to fight this virus. The Administration has not provided the Committee or Congress with the proper information as to how exactly any newly proposed funds will be spent. We have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer money is used effectively and is not wasted. Regardless, I have been working with my colleagues, both on the Appropriations Committee and in our Florida delegation, to provide the necessary funds at the federal level to combat the virus. Speaker Paul Ryan and House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers have made it clear they are committed to providing the Administration with what is needed to fight Zika.
“I thank Governor Scott for taking the time to meet with myself and Congressmen Bilirakis and Curbelo. Zika has the potential to become a public health crisis, and Governor Scott’s leadership on this issue is vital and very much appreciated. Working together at the state and federal levels will result in the best response to fight this disease before it continues to spread.”
Rep. Bilirakis said: “Our meeting with Governor Scott was very productive, and I look forward to working together, along with other FL members, and the federal government, to ensure all FL communities, and communities across the country, are safe. I have been on the front lines in the fight to address Zika. I discussed this issue with witnesses from FDA, NIH, CDC, and HHS during a hearing earlier this year and co-sponsored H.R. 4400, the Adding Zika Virus to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act, which became law earlier this year. This bill allows the developer of a vaccine or treatment for a qualifying tropical disease to receive a voucher for FDA priority review for a second product of its choice, and will help immensely in the fight against the virus. There is no doubt funding is necessary to address the issue, however, we must determine funds are being used efficiently to keep individuals safe and prevent the spread of Zika. I have heard directly from stakeholders involved in preventing the spread of Zika - they have concerns about how the funds would be allocated. As we in Congress continue working with stakeholders to determine the best plan of attack, I will continue to be as proactive as possible. My top priority is to keep us safe.”
Rep. Curbelo said: "I thank Governor Scott for his support in urging Congress to come together and fund eradication efforts of the Zika virus. As representatives from the state of Florida, we understand the real threat that Zika poses to our families and neighbors. We also discussed my bill, the Zika Eradication and Good Government Act, to ensure that when federal funds are disbursed, agencies tasked to fight the disease share best practice methods. It is critical that we continue to collaborate on finding solutions to reduce and ultimately eliminate the threat of Zika.”
Reps. Diaz-Balart, Bilirakis, and Curbelo met with Gov. Scott to discuss the impact of the Zika virus in Florida.
From left to right: Reps. Curbelo, Bilirakis, and Diaz-Balart are pictured with Gov. Scott (center) after discussing the Zika virus.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) recognized Hialeah Gardens Senior High School sophomore Melanie Himely for her winning piece in the 25th congressional district’s 2016 Congressional Art Competition. Her piece, titled “Sharapova in Action,” was chosen out of 98 entries submitted from 14 participating schools. Melanie’s piece will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. A viewing reception for the submitted artwork was held on Friday, May 6, 2016 at Mary Collins Community Center in Miami Lakes, Florida.
(L): Melanie Himely is pictured with Congressman Diaz-Balart at the 2016 Congressional Art Competition Reception. (R): Her winning piece, “Sharapova in Action” was done in charcoal and drawing pencils.
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 as a way to recognize and encourage the artistic talent of the country’s youth. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have participated nationwide. Each spring a winner is selected from each Congressional District in the U.S.
WASHINGTON – This morning, at the request of Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro met with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Diaz-Balart’s senior staff to discuss the homeless grant award. HUD’s homeless assistance program has become increasingly competitive as HUD directs more funding to grantees that allocate resources to projects known to deliver better outcomes like permanent housing and rapid re-housing. Diaz-Balart, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement:
“Like many in South Florida, I was disappointed to learn of the loss of over $5 million in funding for essential homeless programs in the county. As we continue to gather information on the award, my staff and I will work with HUD to gain a clearer understanding of the agency’s decision making process and, perhaps more importantly, why HUD found the Homeless Trust’s grant application to be less competitive. Together with the Homeless Trust, county leadership, and concerned stakeholders, we must refocus our efforts on providing solutions that effectively help reduce homelessness in our community. I am grateful to the Secretary and his staff for accommodating the meeting this morning at such short notice.”
Since 2015, Diaz-Balart has served as Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. As Chairman of this Subcommittee, Diaz-Balart has jurisdiction over and sets funding levels for various transportation and housing programs, including homeless assistance grants.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, of which he was a co-sponsor.
“Today's passage of H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. As law currently reads, the federal government has access to all of your email and text messages - without a warrant. Our electronic privacy laws had been drafted long before we knew the impact that email communication and smart phones would have in our daily lives, and it desperately needed to be updated. The federal government should not have access to the private messages of millions of Americans across the country without a court order. I am proud to support a bill that stops unwarranted intrusion and protects privacy.”
436 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Mario Diaz-Balart is currently fulfilling his 6th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Diaz-Balart was asked to serve on one of the most prestigious committees: House Committee on Appropriations. As part of the House Committee on Appropriations, he sits on three of its subcommittees: State and Foreign Operations, Commerce, Justice, and Science, and as Vice-Chair of Financial Services.
Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional district, which at the time, covered portions of Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and Monroe County. Diaz-Balart continued to represent the three counties until 2010, when he ran unopposed for Florida’s 21st Congressional district. After the 2012 redistricting cycle, he ran for the newly redrawn 25th Congressional district, to which he was elected. The 25th district now includes parts of Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, and Hendry Counties.
Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature in both chambers, House and Senate. At age 31, Diaz-Balart became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Senate, as well as the first Hispanic to serve as Chair of the Combined Appropriations / Ways and Means / Finance and Tax Committee. During his tenure in the state legislature, he consistently ranked among the most effective legislators in Florida, developing a reputation as a budget hawk, and supporting minority voting rights.
In Washington, Diaz-Balart has worked tireless to make American homes and communities safer and stronger in the face of hurricanes and other natural disasters. In 2013, he introduced the Safe Building Code Incentive Act (H.R. 1878), legislation that would provide financial incentives to states that adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes. These states would also qualify for an additional 4 percent of funding for hazard mitigation grants. That same year, he introduced the Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act (H.R. 2241), which would incentivize home and building owners to utilize resilient construction methods when building and renovating home and commercial structures in federally declared disaster areas. Over the long run, both of these bills would save hard-earned taxpayer dollars and minimize the risk of property damage, but more importantly, would reduce the loss of life.
Diaz-Balart has also been a strong proponent of improving public safety and transportation. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Diaz-Balart has helped deliver millions of federal dollars for the I-75 widening project and Miami-Dade Transit. As a true South Floridian, the Everglades restoration has been an ongoing project for Diaz-Balart. As founder and co-chairman of the Everglades Caucus, he has consistently fought to secure billions for the overall restoration and prevented massive funding cuts in recent years. Diaz-Balart has promoted hurricane preparedness and ensured federal relief for Florida in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita.
Diaz-Balart was born on September 25, 1961 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Rafael and Hilda Diaz-Balart, and the youngest of four brothers (Rafael, Lincoln, and Jose). He studied Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Diaz-Balart currently resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and son.
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The FY17 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill is approved on a voice vote.
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Here's what happens when you lose all leverage. He's already given regime everything they wanted, so... https://t.co/37N9zxlQr5
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.@MarioDB: Housing programs are funded to continue providing an option to all currently assisted families, w/ increases in homeless programs
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Happening now: I am chairing the full committee mark-up of the FY17 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. Watch
Secretary McDonald, comparing wait times at the #VA to the wait times at a theme park is an insult to our #vets http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/va-secretary-disney-doesnt-measure-wait-times-so-why-should-va/article/2592021
To those who serve in our military, thank you for your service and unwavering commitment to freedom #ArmedForcesDay
In today's edition of the Naples Daily News, I wrote about thanking our law enforcement for their courage and commitment to protecting our communities.
Yesterday evening, my congressional neighbor Congressman Curt Clawson announced he would not seek re-election this fall. Curt is a champion for