Chairman-designate Price Floor Statement on H.R. 267, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
House Appropriations Committee Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman-designate David E. Price delivered the following remarks in support of H.R. 267, the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill. The legislation is a bipartisan bill to reopen federal agencies and ensure Americans living in HUD-supported housing do not face eviction.
I rise in support of H.R. 267, legislation to re-open and responsibly fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
This bill before us is bipartisan and invests in critical national priorities. It passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 31-0 vote and was adopted by the full Senate on a 92-6 vote.
It provides $71.4 billion in discretionary funding, which is $23.3 billion above the President’s budget request and $1.1 billion above the FY 2018 enacted level.
This legislation is critical for the success of American families, communities, and businesses. In addition to maintaining existing infrastructure, it will allocate $17 billion for new transportation and housing projects in both rural and urban areas.
Like last year, this includes several billion dollars of funding above authorized levels in the FAST Act to:
- accelerate improvements to our aviation system,
- expand transit and rail networks,
- replace aging highway and bridge infrastructure,
- and repair our affordable housing stock.
It also builds on the progress we’ve made since enactment of the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Agreement to ensure that vulnerable populations—including low-income families, seniors, veterans, and the disabled—have access to reliable transportation and safe housing.
It would also provide robust funding for flexible grant programs—especially HOME and CDBG—that allow towns and cities across the country, large and small, to leverage both public and private capital to address their most pressing community needs.
Just as important, this legislation would finally re-open these Departments and allow more than 20,000 furloughed employees at DOT and over 7,000 at HUD to receive backpay and return to their mission: serving the American people.
The Trump Shutdown has dragged on for more than two weeks, shuttering vital government services and creating chaos and uncertainty for families, businesses, and communities in each of our districts.
Grants to help states and municipalities pay for upgrades to transit, rail, and aviation facilities are being put on hold.
State Departments of Transportation are now beginning to delay new construction projects.
The National Transportation Safety Board has ceased major accident investigations.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is no longer investigating or reviewing information about motor vehicle manufacturing defects, which could put lives at risk.
New hiring and training for air traffic controllers has ground to a halt, exacerbating an ongoing staffing shortage. FAA equipment maintenance is curtailed, and pilot certifications are suspended.
Disaster relief funding for states hit by disasters last year—funding that has already been appropriated—remains unallocated because staff at HUD remain furloughed.
Meanwhile, we discovered just this weekend that HUD officials failed to renew more than 1,000 landlord contracts in the Project-Based Section 8 housing program before they expired end of the year, exposing tens of thousands of tenants to possible eviction.
If the shutdown continues much longer, housing assistance for millions of Americans will be jeopardized. The list goes on and on.
H.R. 267 would put an end to this madness and ensure that vital transportation and housing infrastructure is funded for the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year.
This legislation reflects the best of bipartisan collaboration, and it excludes problematic policy riders from both sides of the aisle.
I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan, common-sense legislation and re-open the government without further delay.