March 14, 2019 - 9:00am
From his perch on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, new U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., unveiled his “Fighting for Florida” agenda.
Scott weighed in on his plans on Thursday.
“There are many priorities critical to Florida’s future that I plan to fight for in the United States Senate, including lowering the cost of prescription drugs, promoting freedom and democracy in Latin America, strengthening our economy and reforming Washington to make it actually work for families,” Scott said. “In addition to that, the appropriations process is about to begin in the U.S. Senate, and I plan to aggressively fight for key investments for Florida’s families.
“My Fighting for Florida budget agenda highlights three specific areas that promote Florida’s success. These are investments needed to continue growing our economy, supporting our military and their families, and making sure our environment is protected for generations to come,” Scott added. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to fund these important projects that protect Florida’s future.”
Scott’s budget agenda includes more for $140 million for seaports across the Sunshine State.
“Investing in Florida’s infrastructure and seaports is about creating long-lasting, quality careers for Florida families and expanding Florida’s capability as a hub of commerce and international trade,” Scott’s office noted. “Capitalizing on Florida’s proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean is critical to maintaining the state’s role in the nation’s waterborne exports and imports. Florida is home to 15 seaports and, as governor, Senator Scott invested more than $1.4 billion over his term to modernize Florida’s seaports and trade infrastructure. This includes state investments of more than $140 million to cover the federal share of projects like the deepening of Port Miami, JAXPort Mile Point navigation and Port Canaveral West Turning Basin. The federal government has yet to live up to their promised commitment made under the Obama administration. As governor, Senator Scott fought for the federal government to pay their fair share and as U.S. senator, he will ensure the state is allocated these dollars. By making wise investments in Florida seaports and infrastructure, Florida’s international trade and seaports are seeing incredible success and growth, and thousands of jobs have been created.
“This year, Senator Scott will fight to reimburse Florida for the more than $140 million investment that was made to cover the federal share,” Scott’s office added. “The senator will also work to secure a significant investment for strategic projects designed to improve infrastructure and security at Florida’s ports. This includes increased funding for Customs and Border Protection, which manages security and logistics at Florida’s seaports. These investments will continue Florida’s success as a national and global leader for shipping and logistics.”
Scott also doubled down on his call for more than $200 million for preserving the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. Earlier this week, Scott joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., in insisting that President Donald Trump’s call for $63 million for Everglades Restoration is insufficient.
“People from across the world come to Florida because of the state’s natural beauty. Over his eight years as governor, Senator Scott championed record funding and investments in the Everglades, Florida’s springs, beaches and state parks,” Scott’s office insisted. “As governor, Senator Scott announced his goal of fixing the Herbert Hoover Dike by 2022 and secured $100 million in state funds to speed up repairs to the federally-operated Dike. Fixing the Dike is crucial for water quality in the Everglades and surrounding estuaries, and will help curb the algae blooms that have significantly impacted Florida’s waterways. Last year, Senator Scott helped secured $514 million from the Trump Administration and Congress to fully fund the completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike repairs by 2022. These repairs are currently on schedule, but this funding must be protected to finish the project and provide real results for families and communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee.
“Senator Scott will also work with Senator Rubio to secure a $200 million investment to continue work on restoring the Everglades and South Florida’s ecosystem. This funding will build on the more than $2 billion he invested as governor. Senator Scott will keep working to make sure Florida’s natural resources are preserved so the state can remain a top destination for families, visitors and businesses,” the senator’s office added.
Scott is also backing Trump’s call for $750 billion for the military and he plans to use a key committee assignment to support the White House’s proposal.
“As a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Scott is fighting for $13.6 billion in disaster relief funding, which will help rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base following the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Senator Scott will also fight for appropriations and a National Defense Authorization Act that matches the president’s request of $750 billion in defense spending. This funding is an increase over the current year funding and will strengthen military readiness, help update base infrastructure and support the communities and families surrounding military bases. Additionally, Senator Scott will fight to secure a pay raise for our men and women in uniform,” the senator’s office noted.
After eight years as governor, Scott was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, edging U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.