Congressional Record Vol. 169, No. 148
(Senate - September 13, 2023) PDF

  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, I am pleased the Senate is beginning 
consideration of the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, 
Agriculture, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 
appropriations bills.

  Let me begin my remarks by thanking Chairman Murray and Vice Chairman 
Collins for their strong leadership in advancing these bills through 
committee and now to the Senate floor. This returns to regular order, 
which is long overdue and is a testament to what we can accomplish 
through a committed bipartisanship.

  I also want to thank Senator Schatz, the chairman of the T-HUD 
Subcommittee. He has been a delight to work with and has been very, 
very pleasant to go through this and help me.

  The fiscal year 2024 Transportation, Housing, Urban Development, and 
Related Agencies appropriations bill is a bipartisan and fiscally 
responsible bill that has passed unanimously--a 29-to-0 vote in July--
by the full Appropriations Committee.

  There are a few important aspects of the bill that I would like to 
highlight. First, I want to stress that this bipartisan bill 
incorporates input and requests from more than 80 Senators from both 
sides of the aisle. The bill provides adequate resources for the 
Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development to administer the many important programs and activities 
under their jurisdictions. These programs protect public health and 
safety, promote economic growth, and improve the overall quality of 
life for all Americans.

  The bill includes $28.5 billion for DOT and $73 billion for HUD, as 
well as funding for small independent Agencies like the Federal 
Maritime Commission and the National Transportation Safety Board.

  With this bill, we are continuing to foster and grow the safest and 
most reliable transportation system in the world. The bill makes key 
investments in our transportation infrastructure, including $800 
million for the popular RAISE Grant Program, and nearly $1.2 billion 
for the important bridge repair and rehabilitation program.

  We also fully fund critical aviation needs, such as funding for 1,800 
new air traffic controllers and for modernizing our legacy airspace 

  The popular Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements 
Grant Program is funded at $500 million, and Amtrak is funded at $2.5 
billion, which will continue to provide upgrades and service to rural 
communities, as well as the Northeast corridor.

  In addition to transportation programs, this bill maintains existing 
rental assistance for more than 4.6 million households. This includes 
working families, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who are 
homeless or at risk of homelessness. Additional investments are made to 
support ending veteran and youth homelessness, as well as to develop 
more permanent supportive housing.

  Ending cycles of dependency requires promoting self-sufficiency and 
financial literacy tools, and I am pleased that the bill includes $198 
billion for HUD's self-sufficiency programs.

  Finally, the bill continues to fund the CDBG Program at $3.3 billion, 
which continues to be one of the most requested programs in this bill 
by Members from both parties to help State and local governments across 
the country promote economic development and job creation.

  In closing, given the wide array of projects and activities funded by 
this bill, the subcommittee received a substantial amount of Member 
requests and has worked to try to address as many Member priorities as 
possible. The fiscal year 2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban 
Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill is worthy of 
consideration and passage by the full Senate.

  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the investments in this 
bill to support families and communities across this country, as well 
as the Military Construction, VA, and Agriculture bills that make up 
this minibus.

  I yield the floor.