Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2023

Floor Speech

Date: July 19, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the bill in its current form but there are some really good things in this legislation, and I will talk about why I can't support it at this time.

But first, I thank my dear friend, Chairman Price, for his work on the T-HUD portion of the bill, and, most importantly, as the chairwoman said, for his lifetime of honorable service to this country.

I know that the committee and Congress will miss Mr. Price. He has been, frankly, a privilege to work with. Not that we don't have disagreements, but we always work through those disagreements in a respectful, open process.

Evidence of his life and his service can be found in this bill as well as other past T-HUD bills. One example, Mr. Chairman, is the manufactured housing initiative that will, frankly, help revitalize communities across the Nation. Chairman Price listened to stakeholders and developed this innovative program with his characteristic deep understanding of policy.

I have said--and I know he doesn't feel it is a negative thing, on the contrary, I say it with great compliment--that he is a total policy wand, Mr. Chairman. And this is one of those areas where you see his policy involvement.

Some of you may not know that the Committee on Appropriations unanimously voted to name this efficiently the Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement, PRICE, after Chairman Price. And I thank the chairman for including the funding that he did for port infrastructure. I would also mention that he and I, and the entire T-HUD Committee, have always made safety a priority, and this bill continues in that tradition.

The bill modernizes air traffic control systems to make sure that they are the safest in the world, as well as it makes progress in road and rail safety.

We share a priority of supporting American innovation, whether it is automated vehicles to unmanned aircraft to commercial space, this bill makes key investments in those areas as well. And it provides over $3 billion above last year, just to maintain HUD's current rental assistance programs. And that is something that, obviously, we all support, but I want to mention that those are things that once we do, we have to continue to fund every single year. Obviously, I support renewing this assistance, especially to the elderly, our disabled, and our veterans.

Again, much of the HUD spending in this bill will create new liabilities for future years. For example, the bill expands Section 8-- a program that obviously we all know about--by $1.1 billion.

This new spending would, in essence, require several billion dollars for renewals in future years. So, in essence, it becomes a de facto mandatory requirement which creates many, many issues.

Let me be clear. I cannot support the bill at its current spending level. The bill was written under unrealistic top-line numbers, set by the majority. As a result, this bill has an overall increase of 12 percent above last year, which is, again, not acceptable. Inflation is at a 40-year high.


Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chair, inflation is at a 40-year high. Contrary to what some say, we cannot address inflation by spending more money-- by continuing to spend more and more money. Instead, we need an agreement that reduces excessive spending that balances defense and nondefense spending, and, again, removes all of the controversial riders.

Once that happens, Mr. Chair, I am confident that we will be able to reach an agreement that this House and the majority and the minority can live with.

Again, I thank Chairman Price for his leadership, his friendship, and openness. He will be missed. I would be remiss if I didn't thank the chairwoman and the ranking member of the full committee for their leadership.

I am confident that we will eventually be able to have numbers that we can live with and have a bipartisan bill, but until then, I have to oppose the bill.