June 7, 2012
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for yielding.
Today we consider the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing & Urban Development. I would like to begin by thanking Chairman Latham, Ranking Member Olver, as well as staff on both sides, for the important work they’ve done to bring this job-creating legislation before the subcommittee today. I also want to give special thanks to Mr. Olver, as this will be his last subcommittee markup on this bill. I thank you for all you have done for this committee over the years.
As May’s job report indicates, our economic woes continue. Unemployment continues to hover over 8%, and the message is clear – the overspending, overtaxing, and over-regulating must stop if we’re to grow our economy and put our nation back to work.
The bill before us today is yet another example of this Congress’ – specifically this Committee’s – commitment to instill fiscal discipline by restoring restraint and thoughtfulness to the budgeting process, while targeting investment in our nation’s critical transportation infrastructure and creating an environment for job growth.
The legislation before us contains $51.6 billion in discretionary funding, $3.9 billion below last year’s level, and will help ensure that our highways keep moving, our airways remain safe, and our Nation’s most vulnerable citizens have access to affordable housing options.
Unquestionably the development, repair, and expansion of our Nation’s surface transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic competitiveness and there is near universal recognition that we’re woefully behind. I’m hopeful that ongoing House-Senate conference negotiations will result in a multi-year highway bill that makes the Trust Fund whole and sustainable.
If so, I know under Chairman Latham’s leadership, the THUD subcommittee stands poised to further assist in meeting the needs of our nation’s aging road and bridge system.
Already, as a result of bipartisan cooperation, this subcommittee has rejected the Administration’s attempt to move highway programs onto the mandatory side of the ledger. Taken as a whole, mandatory spending continues to rise at an unsustainable rate. When we’re borrowing 42 cents on every dollar, our Committee needs more oversight of federal expenditures – not less.
I am proud that we continue to uphold our commitment to the American people to reduce the size and scope of government, insist on rigorous oversight, and move these bills through regular order. This is a good bill, and it deserves the support of each subcommittee member. Thank you, and I yield back.