June 19, 2012
This bill does the important work of supporting a vibrant and safe infrastructure, while making the difficult but responsible cuts needed to get our budgets back into balance. This bill continues the thoughtfulness and restraint that have become the hallmark of this Committee over the last several years of budgeting. It prioritizes our nation’s most critical transportation programs accordingly, creating an environment that fosters job creation and funds important repairs and improvements, and ensuring access to affordable housing options.
The legislation before us holds the line on federal spending, cutting $3.9 billion from last year’s level - totaling $51.6 billion in discretionary funding. While recognizing the ongoing process of a transportation authorization bill, the bill provides needed funding for Federal Highways, the FAA, the FTA, passenger and freight rail, and safety programs.
In addition, the bill funds Housing programs at responsible levels, guaranteeing that all eligible individuals and families can receive the assistance for which they qualify. The bill seeks to take special care of the most vulnerable among us, including housing for the disabled, and increases in programs for Veterans and the elderly.
By including stringent oversight provisions, the bill works to eliminate excess and wasteful spending. And, in addition to cuts across lower-priority programs, the bill eliminates or does not include any funding for unnecessary programs, such as the “sustainable” community grant program.
Making these difficult choices has allowed us to hold the line on spending while targeting funding for transportation investments and housing programs Americans need the most.
I want to close by thanking Chairman Latham, Ranking Member Olver, the Subcommittee and the staff, for their hard work drafting this legislation, and shepherding it through the process so that we can consider it today. It may not have always been easy to negotiate, but we appreciate your comity and respect throughout the process. I also want to recognize Mr. Olver today, since this is his final Full Committee markup for a THUD bill. His leadership and guidance on these issues, and his work on this committee, have been of great benefit over the years, and he will be missed.
In closing, I urge my colleagues to support a bill that will keep our highways moving, our airways safe, and our citizens housed in a fiscally responsible manner. Thank you.