Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies and Appropriations Act of 2015

Floor Speech

Date: June 9, 2014
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. PASTOR of Arizona asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that we are beginning consideration of H.R. 4745, the fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

I also want to thank Chairman Latham for his work on this bill. He has been a good friend throughout the years and has been a great chairman over these last few years on this subcommittee. I really have enjoyed his friendship. I enjoy working with him, and I thank him for all the courtesies he has extended to me.

I also want to thank the staff--the staff on the majority and the staff on the minority side. They have worked well together over these last few months to bring this bill on the floor.

On paper, this bill appears to be nearly $1.2 billion higher than the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. However, the sharp differences between OMB and CBO on the receipt estimates for the FHA loan program mean that this bill is actually $1.8 billion lower--lower than the FY 2014 bill.

As a result, many programs are frozen at last year's level. Deep cuts were made to Amtrak, cuts were made to grants for new transit systems, HUD's HOME program, and HUD's program to reduce the hazards of lead and other household toxins have been reduced.

On a positive note, the bill addresses many of the important safety functions of the Department of Transportation.

For example, this bill provides strong funding for the programs and activities of the Federal Aviation Administration. It will allow the FAA to continue to hire and train new controllers that were lost due to sequestration.

The bill also ensures that the FAA will be able to continue to make important investments to modernize our aging air traffic control system.

With regard to housing programs, the Community Development Block Grants program is adequately funded, and the chairman has worked to ensure that tenants in assisted housing can retain their housing.

The administration's Statement of Administration Policy makes it clear that this bill needs improvement before President Obama will sign it into law.

As we consider the bill over the next few days, I hope that we can prevent further cuts to important transportation and housing programs, and I also hope that we can defeat legislative provisions that will only weaken this bill's chances for enactment.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out to my colleagues that the Senate allocation for this bill is nearly $2.4 billion higher than this bill. I hope that we are able to consider this bill quickly, so we can go to conference with the Senate to produce a bill that we can all support.

I reserve the balance of my time.