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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 1243 - Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

July 23, 2013


STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

(Senate)

(Sen. Mikulski, D-MD)

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 1243, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.

The Senate passed a budget which provides a concrete plan to grow our economy, create good middle class jobs and shrink our deficits in a balanced way, consistent with the President's belief that our economy grows best from the middle-out, not the top-down, while reducing the debt as a share of the economy. The Senate budget enables critical investments in education, infrastructure, innovation, and national security that support America's continued economic recovery and best positions Americans and our economy to compete in the future.       

S. 1243 is consistent with the budget framework that passed the Senate and the President's Budget for FY 2014. The bill makes important investments in transportation infrastructure that will help to fix America's crumbling roads and bridges and upgrade and modernize the infrastructure that is so vital to the Nation's economic security and long-term growth. The bill also recognizes how important housing is to a sense of security for the American people. This bill continues to provide critical housing assistance to America's families, supports economic development in local communities, and contributes to the Nation's ongoing housing recovery.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill. 

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants. The Administration strongly supports the $550 million provided for TIGER Grants. This competitive grant program is critical in helping communities around the country leverage their own resources to complete critical transportation projects.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Operations. The Administration supports the Committee's efforts to prioritize FAA Operations funding and provide funds at the requested level of $9.7 billion. This funding level will allow the agency to hire to keep pace with attrition in its aviation safety and controller workforce.

FAA Facilities, Equipment, and NextGen. The Administration strongly supports the Committee's commitment to maintain legacy facilities and equipment while also investing in modernization of the Nation's air traffic control system through NextGen. The Senate Committee bill provides robust funding for the NextGen initiative.

National Railroad Passenger Corporations (Amtrak). The Administration supports the Committee's commitment to provide funding for grants to passenger rail. The Committee bill combines Amtrak operating and capital accounts into a single Amtrak grant program, allowing for increased flexibility to address emergent needs.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment (New Starts) Grants. The Administration supports the Committee's commitment to investment in new public transit in cities across the Nation. By providing the requested level for Transit New Starts, the bill will enable FTA to fund all existing New Starts grant agreements for projects currently under construction as well as support for the new projects recommended in the Budget, including a Core Capacity program grant as authorized in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

Pipeline Safety. The Administration strongly supports the funding provided for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, which will allow for more pipeline safety inspectors and State grants to monitor and regulate the Nation's 2.6 million miles of privately owned and operated pipelines.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Core Rental Assistance. The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for HUD's core rental assistance programs, which provide affordable rental housing for millions of low-income families. The Administration urges the Congress to enact the full $20 billion request for the Housing Choice Voucher program in order to maximize assistance to families seeking decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private rental market.

Choice Neighborhoods.  The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for Choice Neighborhoods, and urges the Congress to provide the full $400 million request for this program. Choice Neighborhoods provides critical support to revitalize distressed HUD-assisted housing and build ladders of opportunity for low-income families by improving economic development, creating jobs, and helping residents access educational opportunities in surrounding communities.

Homeless Assistance Grants. The Administration urges the Congress to provide the President's request for Homeless Assistance Grants, which funds a variety of intervention programs that serve homeless and at-risk individuals and families, and urges Congress to provide the full $2.26 billion for these grants. At this level, HUD would be able to serve at least 26,000 additional persons who are homeless and at-risk of homelessness.

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for CDBG, including $75 million for Integrated Planning and Investment Grants. This funding provides critical State and local resources for public improvements, infrastructure, affordable housing, and public services for low- to moderate-income families, and supports planning efforts to help localities strategically invest those resources to achieve the greatest benefit for citizens. The Administration urges the Congress to also support the proposed Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative to provide targeted assistance to neighborhoods still feeling the effects of the foreclosure crisis.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The Administration supports the level of funding provided for the HOME Program, which provides grants to State and local governments to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Housing Counseling. The Administration strongly supports the Committee's full funding of counseling programs in HUD and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation that assist families in challenging housing situations.

Civilian Pay Raise

The Administration urges the Congress to support the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees. As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2014 appropriations process moves forward.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 1243 - Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/304836