Ranking Member Quigley Floor Remarks in Opposition to the 2024 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2023-11-06 18:19
Statement

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Ranking Member of the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 4820, the 2024 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill:

– As Prepared For Delivery –

I rise in opposition to this bill.

As Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, I take pride in how the work of this subcommittee impacts the day to day lives of every person in our country.

Whether it is working to improve morning commutes to work and school, fighting against the emissions that come along with moving people and goods from one place to another or ensuring every American has a safe and stable place to call home – this bill touches the life of every American.

Yet, this bill undercuts the fundamental values of the American people, and at the expense of our lowest income families.

Rather than continuing investments to upgrade our outdated infrastructure, this bill would weaken the safety of our transportation workers and communities.

Instead of reducing congestion on our roads, delays at our airports, and bottlenecks at train stations, this bill would make our daily commutes and travel times longer.

When we should be investing more resources in safe stable affordable housing to help the millions of American families that are barely getting by each month, this bill would eliminate the opportunity for 22,000 working families to secure an affordable mortgage or home to rent.

All in all, this bill trades the basic needs of everyday Americans for the wants of the wealthiest. 

This message is made very clear when the bill cuts more than $7 billion for freight, rail, transit and port infrastructure projects that span all 50 states and the District of Columbia, urban and rural. This includes a complete elimination of the Thriving Communities program – who in this room doesn’t want their communities to thrive?; striking out any new funding for the popular and bipartisan RAISE and Mega grant programs; gutting funding for light rail, subways and bus projects by 82 percent; and slashing Amtrak’s northeast corridor funding by 92 percent, crippling the entire national network from Florida to New York, Texas to California, and in my own district – from Chicago, to Arkansas, Montana, and all the way to the Pacific Northwest.

The bill also eliminates more than $2 billion for housing development and community revitalization programs, based on merit and need, I might add, including pulling back half a billion dollars intended to make housing safer for low-income children and families. 

A safe and stable roof over your child’s head should not be a worry for working parents already struggling to make ends meet.

Yet, if enacted into law, this bill would force millions of families, elderly and disabled, to make even more difficult decisions each day on whether to live in a home riddled with lead and mold.

All while the bill eliminates $25 billion from the IRS for tax oversight for the wealthy, an agency that this bill does not even have jurisdiction over.

Compounding these concerns are the several controversial policy riders that unnecessarily attack high speed rail, roll back transportation safety, and call into question civil rights protections for most Americans.

This bill does not represent what a majority of our constituents have called on us to do and I fear we have yet to see what additional cuts may be taken within this bill to appease those Members calling for draconian levels of spending, on the backs of everyday Americans.

As such, Mr. Chairman, I respectively cannot support this bill. Thank you.

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118th Congress