The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a government funding bill that, as result of bipartisan efforts led by U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, provides strong funding for the National Guard counter-drug program. The Florida National Guard uses these funds to support law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations with the goal of arresting major drug traffickers, seizing illegal drug shipments, and reducing drug-related violence. The bill now heads to the President for his signature.
“The international drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, poses a threat to our children, our communities, and our country’s security,” said Murphy. “I am so proud that the bill headed to the President’s desk reflects my bipartisan efforts to increase resources for the National Guard counter-drug program, which has disrupted drug trafficking organizations and reduced the supply of illegal drugs entering this country. We must address this problem in a comprehensive way removed from partisan politics.”
The Florida National Guard receives about $10 million annually under this program, which is among the highest of any state. Since 2014, support provided by the Florida National Guard has been instrumental in over 2,000 arrests and the seizure of nearly $14 billion in illicit drugs, property, and cash.
In June, Murphy authored an amendment to the House version of the defense appropriations bill to increase funding for the National Guard counter-drug program, and it was unanimously adopted. In addition, during conference negotiations on the bill, Murphy led a letter to House and Senate leaders urging strong support for the counter-drug program, which was signed by U.S. Representatives Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). As a result, the final version of the defense bill, which passed the Senate on Aug. 23 and passed the House today, included the funding that Murphy sought.
Under the counter-drug program, federal funding is distributed to the national guards in the states and the territories. With this funding, national guards provide different forms of assistance to law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations, including analytical, reconnaissance, and training support. Each state uses its funding in a way that reflects the drug interdiction priorities of its governor, the capabilities of its national guard, and the needs of its law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels.
Once this government funding bill is signed by the President, this will be the 15th Murphy-led measure to become law since she took office in January 2017. An additional 11 measures spearheaded by Murphy have been approved by the House.