Chairman Price Floor Remarks on Six-Bill Appropriations Minibus

2022-07-19 13:55

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Chairman David E. Price (D-NC-04) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 8294, a minibus of six fiscal year 2023 appropriations bills:

I rise in strong support of this critical legislation that will make vital investments in communities across America.

As Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, I’d like to first thank my partner, Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart, for his cooperative and collaborative relationship this year and many years prior, including when our roles were reversed.  The bipartisan work we do in assembling our subcommittee bills reflects an earlier era when appropriations presented a united front throughout the process. That era, regrettably, has passed, but the cooperative work we’ve done has still made this a better bill, and hopefully will help us achieve agreement eventually and finalize T-HUD and other bills.

Division A of the bill, the “T-HUD” section, represents our continued commitment to upgrading our aging transportation infrastructure, addressing our nation’s affordable housing and homelessness crises, bolstering our resiliency in the face of natural disasters and a changing climate, remedying inequities and disparities in our housing and transportation systems, and prioritizing safety—whether eliminating hazards in public housing or improving the certification of new aircraft. Overall, the bill includes $90.9 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $9.85 billion over the FY 2022 enacted level.

The bill also provides $77.6 billion to fully fund programs that utilize the Highway Trust Fund as part of last year’s historic and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

For housing, we continue to ensure housing stability for nearly 5 million people by fully renewing all Housing Choice Vouchers and meeting the renewal needs of public housing, homeless assistance grants, and several other initiatives. This is coupled with critical new investments, including more than 140,000 new tenant-based vouchers for low-income families and people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, over 5,600 new affordable housing units for seniors and persons with disabilities, and more than 6,700 new vouchers for veterans experiencing homelessness and youth aging out of foster care.

The bill also provides an 8 percent increase to the HOME program, an 11 percent increase for NeighborWorks programs, and a historic 29 percent increase for Choice Neighborhoods, a program that, like housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities, was on life support before our subcommittee brought it back into production. I was able to see some of these life-changing investments firsthand in my own state, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where I toured a Choice Neighborhood with my colleague, Kathy Manning, and there are more to come.

Importantly, this bill provides, for the first time, a major investment in our nation’s manufactured housing, by providing $500 million for a new program to preserve and revitalize this essential form of housing that has long been overlooked. Many of these communities have faced significant infrastructure and resiliency challenges and this bill recognizes the opportunities that will come from direct investments in this critical aspect of our housing stock, which provides for over 20 million people.

On the transportation side, the bill upholds the commitment to respond to transportation needs across all modes, including highways, transit, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian projects, and ports. It invests in the safety and reliability of our passenger and freight rail systems, including a combined $1.2 billion for the CRISI and Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail grant programs, a signature priority for our subcommittee. I am particularly proud of this aspect of the bill as we build out the Raleigh to Richmond corridor, the next step in the Southeast Corridor from Washington to Charlotte and eventually Atlanta. These regional corridors represent the future of passenger rail in this country, critical to lowering congestion to greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill also provides robust funding for our transit infrastructure, including $3 billion for Capital Investment Grants to create new transit routes nationwide and $646 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants to help transit agencies innovate and improve public transit.

Before I close, I want to thank the staff for their immeasurable contributions to this bill and thank them for guiding the members and staff on both sides of the aisle through this process. Starting with Chief Clerk, Christina Monroe, as well as Josephine Eckert, Winnie Chang, Xavier Arriaga, Samhita Subramanian, and Rachel Kyes, along with Leigh Whittaker on my personal staff, and as Doug Disrud for the Minority.

Since this is my last time presenting the T-HUD bill, I also want to mention all the staff who have helped me and my colleagues through the Subcommittee since I initially took over as Ranking Member. That starts with the three previous clerks – Kate Hallahan, Joe Carlile, and Matt Washington – and it includes Angela Ohm, Sarah Puro, Becky Salay, Jenny Neuscheler, and Gladys Barcena at the Subcommittee, as well as Laura Thrift, Kate Roetzer, Sean Maxwell, and Nora Blalock previously from my staff.

Thank you to all of you.

In closing, this year’s T-HUD bill makes forward-looking investments in our housing and transportation infrastructure, all while bolstering safety and uplifting vulnerable populations.  It will benefit communities across America and lay a strong foundation for economic growth and resiliency.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I yield back.

117th Congress