Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2021-07-16 12:43

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2022 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill:

Thank you, Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart, for your work. I also want to thank the subcommittee, full Committee staff, and personal office staffs for their hard work.

The legislation before us builds the architecture for a safer, stronger, and more prosperous future by delivering bold progress for American families. As this transformative bill reconstructs our crumbling infrastructure, it helps to create good-paying American jobs, protect small businesses, grow the middle class, and improve the lives of at-risk and unprotected Americans.

This bill works to solve the American infrastructure crisis through provisions like the $106 billion in budgetary resources to modernize and improve our nation’s transportation, including transit, airports, and passenger rail systems.  As we repair outdated transportation and infrastructure, this bill cultivates a resilient and inclusive economic future from the ground up.

It is our moral imperative to give all families a better chance for a better life. But we can only achieve rising prosperity that benefits all of us so long as we also take action to address the housing crisis, which has put affordable living out of reach for far too many.

This bill recognizes that housing is a basic necessity, and that homeownership is a critical route to economic opportunity and independence. That’s why it invests $44 billion in homeownership opportunities and rental assistance to support working families, and $21 billion to expand housing access, prevent evictions, and provide stable housing for people experiencing homelessness. I know personally how vital these investments are for families across America. When I was about ten years old in New Haven, CT, we came home on one Friday night to Pearl street in New Haven where we lived and what we found was our furniture out on the street. We had been evicted. Not because my parents weren’t working or struggling every day, but because the financial pressures were too great. We went to live with my grandmother until we could get back on our feet.

Many families in this country don’t have a safe place to go when they lose their homes. They don’t have a stable path to homeownership. And they don’t have the safety nets that would have prevented an eviction in the first place. By building on prior housing investments made by this subcommittee, we provide the support that families need to achieve homeownership and give them the opportunity of future stability.

And our support for affordable housing is meaningless if we do not also keep those homes safe. That is why I am proud that this bill invests $590 million to mitigate life-threatening home health hazards like lead paint and radon. This capital maintenance not only creates safer public housing but also good paying jobs, uplifting our communities in more ways than one.

Every child deserves to wake up in a safe home and travel to school on a sound road. Every parent deserves to be free of the worry that unreliable transportation will cost them their jobs. And it is the least that we can do to ensure the hardworking citizens of America have a reliable commute to a safe and affordable home after a long day’s work.

That is why I am so proud of this bill. It does not settle for half-measures or temporary fixes. It makes investments in our nation to build desperately-needed transportation and housing infrastructure from the ground up, and lays the foundation for a more equal and equitable future.

Once again, my thanks to Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart and the staff for their work. I urge support from my colleagues for this critical bill.

117th Congress