Chair DeLauro Statement at Subcommittee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2022-06-23 16:35

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2023 bill:

Thank you, very much, Vice Chairman Quigley and thank you to the Ranking Member Mr. Diaz Balart.

I too would like to take a moment to recognize the profound sadness and heartbreak so many of us feel right now. Chairman Price’s wife, Lisa, she passed this morning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As Chairman Price said in his statement today, Lisa was his partner and supporter in everything he undertook. Lisa was also a dear friend of the DeLauro family, stemming from her time serving alongside my mother on the New Haven Board of Aldermen. It was a great partnership. We are indebted to her decades of service where she fought against gun violence, advancing civil rights, protecting our climate, and supporting our children. Our nation and the world are a better place because of Lisa Price. And so my deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to Chairman Price, their children Karen and Michael, and the entire family.

I also want to specifically thank Chairman Price for his principled stewardship of this Committee. His visionary leadership on the world stage and work to address our nation’s affordable housing and infrastructure crises reflect his deep commitment to the safety and well-being of the people of this nation and the world. We will miss him dearly upon his retirement.

Turning over to today’s markup, Let me just say a thank you to you, Vice Chairman Quigley for taking over and again Ranking Member Diaz-Balart, for your bipartisan partnership within this subcommittee and the Members of the subcommittee for your work on this bill. And the subcommittee staff for your tireless work putting this bill together.

Through the 2022 federal spending package, we fought to secure transformative federal investments that help us to fight inflation, lower the cost of living, create jobs, and support working families. But Americans across the country are still living with the consequences of our crumbling transportation infrastructure and an aging housing stock. While this Congress was able to propel historic investments with the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve our roads, bridges, and transit systems, our annual duty to pay our transportation workers, improve the safety of our roads, and improve the nation’s affordable housing stock – that still remains. As Chairman Price says, the T-HUD bill is an infrastructure bill – and we enact it not once every five years, but we enact it every single year.

Also last year, we also introduced Community Project Funding requests that have already begun to make a critical difference in the lives of people and in the infrastructure that surrounds them. This bill before us includes an astonishing nearly 2000 requests. I am so proud that we were able to accommodate the vast majority of requests from Members on both sides of the aisle that will make our communities stronger and our infrastructure safer.

This bill is also deeply personal to me because it truly has the power to change lives, especially the lives of some of our most vulnerable Americans. As a young girl, I was nine years old, I vividly remember arriving home one evening to find all of our furniture and belongings on the street. My parents worked hard all their lives, but they struggled financially all their lives. My parents work hard to ensure I could have the best education possible, but they fell on hard times and we were evicted from our home. We moved in with my grandmother, while we got back on our feet. This eviction turned our world upside down, and our displacement left lasting scars.

That is also why, through this bill, I have worked to get a national evictions database funded and which is currently underway, because we have no way to track these displacements. How can we support those who have fallen on hard times if we have no way to track them?

Affording a safe home and living with access to reliable transportation is essential to our growth and accessing opportunity. These are basic needs. But they are needs that are out of reach for too many families across this nation.

That is why I am proud that this bill strengthens access to affordable housing for our most vulnerable. We are continuing to serve 5 million people through critical housing programs, such as public housing and the housing voucher program, and providing funding for 140,000 new housing vouchers for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, with additional funding for 5,600 new units for seniors and people with disabilities. And we continue to support state and local efforts to revitalize distressed neighborhoods, while improving the living conditions of those in public and low-income housing, and constructing new and rehabilitating existing affordable housing.

We also support homeowners and expand opportunities for those looking to own a home. Owning a home is at the very core of the American Dream, but it feels out of reach for so many middle-class Americans. This bill expands support for manufactured housing homeowners and down payment assistance opportunities for new homeowners.

We know that just having a roof over your head is not enough. No place can ever be a home unless we feel safe within it. This bill promotes safety by funding critical maintenance and improvement projects, including the continued remediation of lead paint and radon. Plain and simple – these investments save lives and keep us all safer.

Strengthening and sustaining the reliability of our transportation infrastructure is good for our communities. It is part of how we confront the climate crisis and fight inflation. And in the process, we are also creating good-paying American jobs that lift up our communities, expand opportunities for low-income and working Americans, and push our economic development forward. And as we make all these changes, we do so recognizing the historical inequities in these same transportation and housing programs. So, we will continue to fight for equity as we make our infrastructure more resilient for generations to come.

This bill makes much needed investments that will grow opportunity and make a real difference in the lives of Americans. I am proud to support it.

Again, I thank Chairman Price, Vice Chair Quigley, Ranking Member Diaz-Balart. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and yield back.

117th Congress