Republican 2024 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Funding Bill Threatens the Safety and Reliability of Our Roads, Railways, and Housing Across America
During today’s markup, over Democratic objection, House Republicans removed funding for three eligible LGBTQI+ community projects previously included in the bill House Republicans wrote—highlighting the division within the Republican Conference.
WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Republicans passed their fiscal year 2024 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies funding bill, which makes traveling less safe, ignores low-income families living in hazardous conditions, and threatens to shutter our economy.
In this bill, House Republicans are cutting $25 billion from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding used to ensure billionaires pay taxes. It also includes a cruel $564 million gutting of critical resources to remediate health hazards, including lead-based paint, in low-income housing. On net, the bill provides $65 billion, $26 billion below the 2023 level, a reduction of over 28 percent. It demonstrates Republicans’ continued attempts to not just undermine the deal their own Speaker made just one month ago but to double down on their broken promises by injecting unrealistic efforts to repeal prior funding agreements into already-partisan appropriations legislation.
Most of today’s markup was spent on the debate of House Republicans’ far-reaching amendment that, among other things, removed funding for three community projects out of 2,668 they previously agreed to include in the bill. During subcommittee consideration of this bill, Republican Representatives Cole (OK-04), Diaz-Balart (FL-26), Womack (AR-03), Rutherford (FL-05), Gonzales (TX-23), Valadao (CA-22), Cline (VA-06), Zinke (MT-01), Ciscomani (AZ-06) voted to advance these projects. Now, during full committee consideration, these funds were singled out because of the inclusion of “LGBTQI+” or related terms in their intended recipient:
- Rep. Pressley, Construction of The Pryde, an Affordable Senior Housing Development
- Rep. Boyle, Gay Community Center of Philadelphia (d/b/a William Way LGBT Community Center)
- Rep. Houlahan, The LGBT Center of Greater Reading
These projects met statutory requirements, followed Republican guidelines, and were deemed eligible. This amendment is just the latest example of the division within the House Republican Conference between those writing House Appropriations bills and those forcing their extreme ideologies on the Committee. Once again, House Republicans have handed power over to the most extreme members of their caucus, accepting this amendment and removing the three LGBTQI+ projects from the bill.
- Raises costs while threatening to damage our nation’s economy by making it more difficult for Americans to commute to work and secure affordable housing while also slowing the shipment of products American families depend on.
- Makes travel and communities less safe by slashing investments in rail and other transportation infrastructure. We have recently seen the costs of inadequate rail infrastructure play out in real-time, yet this bill eliminates the Federal-state Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail program and cuts the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement program in half, kicking the can down the road on major safety improvements for passenger and freight rail. Gutting rail infrastructure at this magnitude would result in the elimination of services, delays to station improvements that support accessibility for people with disabilities, and sweeping layoffs of rail service employees.
- Further harms our environment and ignores the impact of climate change by prohibiting the implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule aimed at encouraging states to establish declining carbon dioxide targets and a method for measuring and reporting carbon pollution associated with transportation.
“It is clear the Republican 2024 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill fails miserably to meet the needs of Americans,” Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) said. “At a time when too many people in America don’t have a place to call home or lack access to safe and reliable transportation options, the FY24 THUD bill slashes funding for new affordable housing for most areas of the country and commuter and passenger rail. Instead, we should be investing in programs to help communities improve their commutes, travel safely, redevelop distressed housing and attract economic development. This bill falls too short of these critical – it sets America back in a time we need to move forward.”
Congressman Quigley’s remarks as prepared for delivery are here.
“Between air traffic control interruptions, catastrophic train derailments, highways collapsing, and record pedestrian fatalities, we should be increasing investments to keep people safe.” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “Furthermore, every community faces a lack of affordable housing. There is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable homes available nationwide. Ensuring there are roofs over the heads of children and families should not be controversial. Yet this bill fails to meet the housing needs of our country. This bill fails to do enough to expand housing for seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and working families, and it fails to improve the safety of those in low-income housing.”
Congresswoman DeLauro’s remarks as prepared for delivery are here.
Key provisions included in the draft fiscal year 2024 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill are below.
The 2024 funding bill:
- Guts rail infrastructure programs, including a 64 percent reduction to Amtrak, with a majority of the cut to the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which would result in the elimination of service on certain routes, delays to station improvements to comply with ADA, and furloughing its workforce;
- Funding for the NEC has been cut by 92 percent, from $1.3 billion to $99 million.
- Funding for the National Network has been cut by 35 percent, from $1.2 billion to $776 million.
- Eliminates the Federal-state Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail program and cuts the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement program in half, kicking the can down the road on major safety improvements for passenger and freight rail at a time when investments should be prioritized for strengthening our rail network and the safety of our rail workers.
- These cuts will impact all communities that benefit from Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service including:
- Aberdeen, Maryland (MD-01)
- Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia (VA-06)
- Staunton and Clifton Forge, Virginia (VA-06)
- Connellsville, Greensburg, and LaTrobe, Pennsylvania (PA-14), which are connected to the Northeast Corridor by intercity routes that would also see drastic cuts.
- Beyond the Northeast, at these proposed levels, Amtrak anticipates nearly all long-distance and state-supported services would be impacted on National Network routes. Services would be at risk across the country, on:
- The Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma,
- The Silver Service to South Florida,
- The Texas Eagle from Chicago to Arkansas and Texas, and
- The Empire Builder from Chicago to Montana to the Pacific Northwest.
- Nearly eliminates transit capital investment grants, an 82 percent cut from 2023, crippling projects intended to eliminate transportation deserts and improve subways, bus rapid transit, corridors and related infrastructure across Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Houston, Denver, Raleigh, and Salt Lake City and County.
- Eliminates the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) and mega grant programs that support projects of all sizes that improve freight, highways, rail and port infrastructure, advance public-private partnerships, and improve the safety, longevity and sustainability of our transportation networks. These programs support projects that span all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two territories with half the 2023 funding going to rural areas and the other half to urban areas. This is a cut of $800 million from 2023 and is $1.2 billion lower than the 2024 request.
- Eliminates the neighborhood and housing revitalization program, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which helps communities redevelop distressed housing and attract economic development.
- Pulls back $564 million in funding for health hazard remediations in low-income housing, including lead-based paint hazards and those that contribute to asthma, cancer, and otherwise preventable injuries while also cutting the same program by 16 percent or $65 million.
- Eliminates the Yes, In My Backyard program which was newly funded in 2023 at $85 million to support land-use reform to expand affordable housing and transit-oriented development.
- Guts the sole Federal program dedicated to affordable housing construction by 67 percent, cutting the HOME program from $1.5 billion to a mere $500 million.
The bill makes our roads less safe by:
- Prohibiting funds from being used to promote any rulemaking requiring vehicles over 26,000 pounds used in interstate commerce to be equipped with a speed limiting device. This seeks to prohibit DOT from moving forward with final rulemaking to require eighteen-wheeler trucks to use devices that limit their speed to interstate speed limits.
- Prohibiting funds from being used to require the use of inward facing cameras as a condition for the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program, which was newly authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This program is intended to expand the pool of motor carrier drivers/operators across the interstate by recruiting, training, and certifying drivers under the age of 21. This is an attempt to undo provisions in the law already agreed to on a bipartisan basis to improve the safety of young drivers in training.
The bill also includes partisan attacks on critical programs that improve mobility, bolster our response to climate change, and protect civil rights by:
- Capping the amount of funding targeted to historically disadvantaged communities or areas of persistent poverty at 5 percent for the 2024 advanced appropriations for the RAISE grant program.
- Prohibiting the implementation of DOT’s proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule, which would require State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to establish declining carbon dioxide (CO2) targets and a method for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with transportation.
- Prohibiting funds from being used to require information, criteria, reporting requirements, or submissions with respect to any grant program of DOT in accordance with the Department’s equity action plan which was established to comply with President Biden’s Executive Order (13985) on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
- Prohibiting HUD from using funds to implement, administer, or enforce the proposed “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule or proposed rule which was published in January in order to fulfill the requirements of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This language would hamstring HUD’s ability to help its grantees comply with the long-standing civil rights law which requires grantees affirm that as a condition of using Federal resources, they will not violate housing rights of classes protected under the Act, which include discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, and disability.
- Prohibiting funds to be used for HUD to enforce income thresholds for families impacted by and recovering from major flooding events that occurred in 2016, deprioritizing the needs of low-income families and those who need the assistance the most.
House Republicans are also using this funding bill to carryout partisan attacks, including:
- Prohibiting any funds from being used for a high-speed rail corridor development project in California. The bill already undercuts rail infrastructure investments and Republicans want to take it a step further by excluding a single project that already has shovels in the ground and workers on site. No one project should be singled out from competing with other projects through annual funding competitions that are fairly managed under the law.
The bill takes back a total of $25.7 billion. Below are the most notable rescissions included in the bill:
- More than $25 billion in Enhancement of IRS tax enforcement funds from the Inflation Reduction Act to allow billionaires and big corporations to continue avoiding taxes.
- $564.2 million from the ‘‘Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes,” putting children and families at risk, because there is no safe amount of lead. This rescission would mean:
- approximately 33,000 homes of low-income families will not have their homes made lead safe, resulting in approximately 46,000 children continuing to be exposed to lead-based paint hazards.
- approximately 49,000 homes of low-income families with children under age 6 using housing choice vouchers to rent pre-1978 housing will not have their homes assessed for lead-based paint hazards, resulting in approximately 69,000 children continuing to reside in homes that may have lead-based paint hazards without their knowing of it.
The text of the bill, before the adoption of amendments in full committee, is here. The bill report, before the adoption of amendments in full Committee, is here. Updated information on Community Project Funding in the bill will be posted here.