Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2020 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill:
Thank you, Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart, for your work on this bill. I also thank the staff for their efforts.
House Democrats continue our work for the people with the Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill, which focuses on improving public health and safety, protecting the traveling public and enhancing our infrastructure, and investing in our communities so that every American has a shot at a better life.
The Department of Transportation should prioritize safety, and this bill would equip the Department to fund safety upgrades on our roads and rails as well as safety research. This bill increases funding to make rail grade crossings more safe, an issue that is important to my constituents in Rockland and Westchester counties. The bill would provide adequate funding for the federal share of one of the most important transportation projects in our country to advance commuter safety and the economy – the Gateway tunnel between New Jersey and New York. It’s time for the Administration to put politics aside and fund this vital initiative.
In addition to continuing work to solve persistent risks such as impaired driving and transportation of energy products, this bill also seeks to address the challenges of tomorrow, like those associated with transporting LNG by rail and with highly autonomous vehicles. And with report language encouraging construction projects to integrate resiliency, the bill would help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Housing is the foundation on which lives are built. It is nearly impossible to go to school, get a job, raise a family, or age in place without a stable place to live.
This week, Congress took a critical step for disaster-stricken communities by passing a $19.1 billion disaster relief package. This bill builds on that work with $6 million for permanent disaster recovery staff, not contractors, to administer HUD’s $80 billion CDBG-DR portfolio.
Robust investments in the bill, such as increases to CDBG, HOME, and Lead and Healthy Homes, would make our communities heathier and safer. Additional salaries and staffing resources would enable HUD to fully implement the Violence Against Women Act, and critical language would protect the most vulnerable, including undocumented individuals and their U.S. citizen children and LGBTQ youth, against eviction.
With this bill, we have the opportunity to invest in our infrastructure and fundamentally improve the lives of our constituents. I urge support.