Chairman Tom Latham Statement Supporting H.R. 2610, the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation and HUD Funding Bill
Mr. Chairman, today I present H.R. 2610, a bill providing fiscal year 2014 appropriations for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies.
This THUD bill conforms to the 302(b) allocation of $44.1 billion in budget authority, and is in line with the House budget of $967 billion. Under such an allocation, we prioritized programs and spending, and were able to achieve three very important funding goals: meet the ob lim funding levels of MAP-21; keep the commercial air space running smoothly; and preserve and renew the housing option for all HUD-assisted families under lease in fiscal year 2014.
I imagine we are going to hear a lot today about the budget and the sequester. I’ll tell you – I agree. We need a deal. We need a deal that resolves the irresponsible, meat-axe approach of the sequester — and provides a top-line budget number that addresses concerns about taxes and spending.
But the Budget Control Act is the law. And no matter what number we’d like to write to, the law gives us $967 billion to fund the government. You get there either by across-the-board cuts, or by prioritizing the funds available. I think we all agree that continuing across-the-board cuts is not the answer — and we’ve seen examples of why.
Earlier this year, across-the-board cuts caused air traffic controllers to be furloughed, customer convenience to be sacrificed, and air safety to be endangered. In April, the House voted on a strongly bipartisan basis — 361-41 — to tap unspent FAA funds and put these air traffic controllers back to work. Mr. Speaker, we know that across-the-board cutting is no way to run a government.
Considering there still isn’t an agreement on the sequester — or a top-line budget number — it is imperative that we re-align the funds we have available to ensure DOT and HUD have the resources they need to care for the population and infrastructure of this nation. This is the chance to make sure the “must-do” priorities are addressed.
I assume we are going to hear a lot about infrastructure investment — and I will tell you we fund the authorized programs at the authorized program levels.
I assume we are going to hear a lot about housing needs — and I will tell you we retain the housing option for HUD families currently receiving assistance protecting the vulnerable.
We are operating under an open rule, and I hope we can keep the debate and amendment process moving along. We will be taking points of order against amendments that would increase our allocations or authorize on an appropriations act.
I’d like to thank my friend, the Gentleman from Arizona and THUD Ranking Member, Mr. Pastor, for his comity and his willingness to discuss what would be possible under $44.1 billion. I’d also like to thank Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey, plus the members of the Committee — and especially the Subcommittee — for their hard work and commitment to this bill.
And speaking of Subcommittee Members, I’d like to give a word of congratulations to a new and valued member of the Appropriations Committee. The Gentlewoman from Washington, Mrs. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Daniel, recently welcomed their first child, a beautiful baby girl, into their family. This sweet girl is a miracle, and a testament to the faith and the hope that her parents have carried over recent months. We offer our continued prayers for their strength, the wisdom of their doctors, and the joy of this new family.
I reserve the remainder of my time.