Chairman Price Statement to Rules Committee on Seven-Bill Appropriations Minibus

2021-07-26 16:24

Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David E. Price (D-NC-04) today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider H.R. 4502, a minibus of seven fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills:

Thank you, Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and other members of the Rules Committee for allowing me to testify today.

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 collaboration and cooperation, which have made this a better bill, reflecting many bipartisan priorities we can be proud to support.

Division G, the “T-HUD” section, represents a renewed commitment to upgrading our aging transportation infrastructure, addressing our nation’s affordable housing and homelessness crises, bolstering our resiliency to natural disasters and a changing climate, remedying inequities and disparities in our housing and transportation systems, and prioritizing safety—whether in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in public housing or improving the certification of new aircraft.  Overall, the bill includes $84.1 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of nearly $8.7 billion over the FY 2021 enacted level.

The bill also includes major increases in contract authority for formula grant programs that draw on the Highway Trust Fund rather than discretionary funding, reflecting the INVEST in America Act that recently passed the House.

On the housing side of the ledger, we are keeping more than 4.8 million people stably housed by fully renewing all Housing Choice Vouchers and meeting the renewal needs of several other programs. This is coupled with critical new investments, including more than 125,000 new tenant-based vouchers for low-income families and people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and over 4,000 new affordable housing units for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The bill increases the Public Housing Fund by 11% to preserve nearly 1 million units of affordable housing and improve the living conditions for the more than 2 million individuals served by the program. 

This bill also provides significant increases to the CDBG, HOME, and NeighborWorks programs to help expand affordable housing, spur community revitalization, and generate jobs and economic activity.

The bill also does right by transportation.  All modes receive robust funding including highways, transit, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian projects, and ports.  This bill nearly doubles investments in passenger and freight rail, expands port infrastructure programs by about a third, and emphasizes safety at the FAA. The bill includes the necessary resources to ensure all projects in the FTA Capital Investment Grants pipeline – New Starts and Small Starts – can move forward in 2022, and provides $1.2 billion for the heavily oversubscribed RAISE program. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light our continued need for efficient and equitable transportation networks and expanded access to safe and affordable housing to ensure that no one is left behind as we rebuild our economy.  We target assistance to areas of persistent poverty and provide $100 million for a new Thriving Communities Initiative, ensuring that regional planning efforts focus on promoting equity, environmental justice, and resilient infrastructure.  The bill also invests in resilient, clean, multimodal transportation and supports green housing through improving energy and water efficiency.

In closing, this year’s T-HUD bill makes forward-looking investments in our housing and transportation infrastructure, while boosting safety and protecting vulnerable populations.  It will benefit communities across America and lays the foundation for economic growth and recovery.

Thank you, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

117th Congress