3:42 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I certainly understand the issue the gentleman is trying to get at.

[Time: 22:45]

I must oppose the amendment because I think there are some unintended consequences. As far as the way the amendment itself is written, in effect you are banning DOT or HUD from ever purchasing another camera for any use, in essence, because of the possibility it might capture a license plate somewhere.

It simply will also have a lot of wide unanticipated operational impacts across all of the programs in this bill. There could be a prohibition on purchases of aircraft control surveillance technologies at the FAA, an unintended ban on cameras used for safety purposes at airports and air traffic control facilities.

The prohibition could prevent Federal and State motor carrier inspectors from using camera-based technology to screen vehicles for compliance with safety regulations.

The broad nature of this prohibition will negatively affect key research program studies and crash investigations for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The prohibition could undermine revenue collection systems on several large toll-funded routes who take pictures of a license plate--and that is how they charge--and put Federal loans at risk of default not having that means of collecting those revenues.

At HUD, the prohibition, being as broad as it is, could prevent housing authorities from purchasing or operating security systems that are critical to the health and safety of the residents in the public housing and the surrounding communities.

I totally understand the gentleman's point, but there are some ramifications here. I think that maybe we could tailor it better, working on it together in the future, but at this point I would have to oppose the amendment, and I would urge a ``no'' vote.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Fleming).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

3:43 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 10th

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, two of our central responsibilities as Members of Congress are to support a strong national infrastructure and to ensure that every American has a place to call home. The funding levels provided in this legislation will make it impossible to fulfill either of those responsibilities.

There can be no question that we must put people back to work and bring our crumbling, outdated infrastructure into the 21st century. At the funding levels provided in this bill, few of those goals can be accomplished.

[Time: 15:45]

The bill cuts the FTA's Capital Investment Grant Program, more commonly known as New Starts, by $252 million. It includes a $500 million cut to the TIGER grant program, funding it $1.15 billion below the President's request, and it cuts $200 million from Amtrak's capital funding, while providing no funding for high-speed rail.

Beyond simply cutting critical funding, the bill places restrictions on the use of TIGER grants and high-speed rail, and it exempts three States--Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Idaho--from truck size and weight limits on Federal highways.

Congress should not preempt the comprehensive study currently being conducted by USDOT, required as part of MAP-21, the last legislation we enacted on the subject, by enacting piecemeal riders on appropriations bills.

The devastating impacts these cuts will have on our economy will only be exacerbated by the cuts to vital housing programs for hardworking families.

The HOME Investment Partnership Program is funded at its lowest level since its creation in 1992, and the Public Housing Capital Fund falls below its sequestered funding level, adding at least $1 billion to the backlog of capital needs, but perhaps most startling is the failure of this legislation to provide enough funding for every low-income senior and hardworking family to access affordable and secure housing through HUD's tenant-based rental assistance program, or section 8.

My amendment finally provides enough funding for HUD to renew every section 8 voucher, including the 70,000 vouchers lost under sequestration, and to support robust staffing at public housing agencies around the country.

Rental assistance helps 2.1 million very low-income households rent modest homes in the private market at an affordable cost. Households who use Section 8 have incomes well below the Federal poverty line, and nearly every household using a section 8 voucher includes children, seniors, or people with disabilities.

Research consistently demonstrates that this program reduces poverty, housing instability, and homelessness, and helps families live in safe, healthy communities.

Despite the success, only about one in four eligible low-income families receives Federal rental assistance. Long waiting lists remain in nearly every community, even as the number of poor families who pay more than half their monthly income for housing costs has risen 28 percent since 2007. These long wait lists are exacerbated by a lack of administrative funding for public housing agencies.

In the past, Congress consistently provided the necessary funds to ensure that no one receiving a Section 8 voucher loses access to affordable, decent, and stable housing year to year, but sequestration has had a devastating impact on section 8.

With inadequate funding for voucher renewals and extreme cuts to administrative fees, State and local housing agencies assisted an estimated 70,000 fewer families at the end of 2013 compared to a year earlier.

The increased funding that Congress provided through the FY14 budget agreement restored less than half of those vouchers, leaving 40,000 very low-income families with no access to affordable housing. This bill does nothing to help those families.

My amendment will ensure that public housing agencies can renew every current voucher and restore those lost under sequestration. The amendment funds Section 8 voucher renewals at the President's request of $18 billion and provides an additional $320 million to provide vouchers to the 40,000 families who lost access due to Congress' inability to address sequestration.

Of course, this additional funding would go a long way to ensuring that every family who qualifies for rental assistance finds a home. However, at the funding levels for administrative fees in this legislation, it would be impossible for public housing agencies to hire and maintain enough staff to process and renew vouchers.

We cannot continue to undermine our hardworking public housing agencies by failing to provide them enough money to function; yet, once again, this bill woefully underfunds administrative fees for public housing by providing only $1.35 billion, a $150 million reduction from last year's enacted level.

My amendment would finally address the undercutting at public housing agencies by providing an additional $335 million to match the President's request of $1.7 billion for administrative fees.

Mr. Chairman, our first priority must be to ensure that every working family, every senior, and every child has access to a safe, healthy, and affordable home. This amendment will guarantee that no one has to choose between paying their rent and putting food on the table.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

POINT OF ORDER

3:43 PM EDT

Kathy Anne Castor, D-FL 14th

Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chair, if I had an opportunity to offer my amendment today, an amendment that passed with the support of both parties in last year's T-HUD appropriations bill, I would raise the fact that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in many communities across the country, has taken a step back from their mission.

They have a very important mission when it comes to homelessness among veterans, ensuring affordable housing partnerships, and combating the foreclosure crisis.

Still, last year, we were disserved by the leadership at the Department when they closed a number of field offices all across the country, including the field office in the Tampa Bay area, that I represent, and in the Orlando area.

Now, Florida has a population of almost 20 million people. We have 1.5 million veterans, and it is estimated that about 8,000 of them are homeless. We have 47,000 people in Florida that are battling homelessness, and our foreclosure rate is still too high. Nearly 9 percent of all Florida homes with mortgages are in some state of foreclosure.

So it was very disturbing last year when HUD pulled back on the ground, closed community offices in Tampa and Orlando. In fact, they shut down 16 field offices. The problem was that they didn't consult Congress, as they were supposed to. They came, they talked with us, but they didn't really allow us any adequate input.

I encourage the leaders, like the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor), who has been on this issue, to continue this dialogue with the Department and the U.S. Senate in conference.

My amendment would have cut the executive office budget of HUD here in Washington, D.C., by $3.5 million and, instead, devoted those funds back to our local communities to fight homelessness among veterans, foreclosures, and the other challenges we face.

The shift of these dollars out of D.C. to our local communities would have sent a very strong message. You know, those fields offices, especially the one I had in the Tampa Bay area, was a critical access point for my neighbors and for many of the community's nonprofits.

We are being hurt by their decision, and all my amendment would have done--and I hope this dialogue will continue--is ensure that the Department remains focused on backing up what they said that they would do to ensure that our local communities would not be hurt by taking away people on the ground that interact on an everyday basis with the people we represent.

So at this time, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor) for his involvement in this issue and urge everyone involved in the negotiations to emphasize the importance of having HUD focused on their mission on the ground in our neighborhoods, in our cities and towns and not on the bureaucracy here in Washington, D.C.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:48 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order that the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill.

The amendment is not in order under section 3(d)(3) of House Resolution 5, 113th Congress, which states:

``It shall not be in order to consider an amendment to a general appropriation bill proposing a net increase in budget authority in the bill (unless considered en bloc with another amendment or amendments proposing an equal or greater decrease in such budget authority pursuant to clause 2(f) of rule XXI).''

The amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill in violation of such section.

I ask for a ruling of the Chair.

The CHAIR. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

3:48 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order that the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill.

The amendment is not in order under section 3(d)(3) of House Resolution 5, 113th Congress, which states:

``It shall not be in order to consider an amendment to a general appropriation bill proposing a net increase in budget authority in the bill (unless considered en bloc with another amendment or amendments proposing an equal or greater decrease in such budget authority pursuant to clause 2(f) of rule XXI).''

The amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill in violation of such section.

I ask for a ruling of the Chair.

The CHAIR. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

3:49 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 10th

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, we can all agree, I think, that this amendment is necessary.

We are talking about denying tens of thousands of families and seniors access to an efficient, cost-effective program that keeps families together and lowers the government's costs over the long term.

Without this amendment, we will see a spike in homelessness, a spike in medical costs, and a spike in hungry kids.

I understand the point of order. I understand that the rules demand an offset for any funding increase in the bill. I also appreciate the chairman's efforts to support Section 8 and public housing.

But when funding levels are this restrictive across the board, as they are in this bill, it is impossible to offset such drastic underfunding without hurting other people in need. The rules and the drastic underfunding of this bill make it impossible to meet basic human needs.

I hope that, as we go forward, we can find a way to provide these funds so that kids, working families, and seniors are not out on the street, as I guarantee you this bill at this funding level will do.

The CHAIR. The Chair is prepared to rule on the point of order.

The gentleman from Iowa makes a point of order that the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York violates section 3(d)(3) of House Resolution 5.

Section 3(d)(3) establishes a point of order against an amendment proposing a net increase in budget authority in the pending bill.

As persuasively asserted by the gentleman from Iowa, the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill. Therefore, the point of order is sustained. The amendment is not in order.

3:49 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 10th

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, we can all agree, I think, that this amendment is necessary.

We are talking about denying tens of thousands of families and seniors access to an efficient, cost-effective program that keeps families together and lowers the government's costs over the long term.

Without this amendment, we will see a spike in homelessness, a spike in medical costs, and a spike in hungry kids.

I understand the point of order. I understand that the rules demand an offset for any funding increase in the bill. I also appreciate the chairman's efforts to support Section 8 and public housing.

But when funding levels are this restrictive across the board, as they are in this bill, it is impossible to offset such drastic underfunding without hurting other people in need. The rules and the drastic underfunding of this bill make it impossible to meet basic human needs.

I hope that, as we go forward, we can find a way to provide these funds so that kids, working families, and seniors are not out on the street, as I guarantee you this bill at this funding level will do.

The CHAIR. The Chair is prepared to rule on the point of order.

The gentleman from Iowa makes a point of order that the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York violates section 3(d)(3) of House Resolution 5.

Section 3(d)(3) establishes a point of order against an amendment proposing a net increase in budget authority in the pending bill.

As persuasively asserted by the gentleman from Iowa, the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill. Therefore, the point of order is sustained. The amendment is not in order.

3:50 PM EDT

Kathy Anne Castor, D-FL 14th

Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chair, if I had an opportunity to offer my amendment today, an amendment that passed with the support of both parties in last year's T-HUD appropriations bill, I would raise the fact that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in many communities across the country, has taken a step back from their mission.

They have a very important mission when it comes to homelessness among veterans, ensuring affordable housing partnerships, and combating the foreclosure crisis.

Still, last year, we were disserved by the leadership at the Department when they closed a number of field offices all across the country, including the field office in the Tampa Bay area, that I represent, and in the Orlando area.

Now, Florida has a population of almost 20 million people. We have 1.5 million veterans, and it is estimated that about 8,000 of them are homeless. We have 47,000 people in Florida that are battling homelessness, and our foreclosure rate is still too high. Nearly 9 percent of all Florida homes with mortgages are in some state of foreclosure.

So it was very disturbing last year when HUD pulled back on the ground, closed community offices in Tampa and Orlando. In fact, they shut down 16 field offices. The problem was that they didn't consult Congress, as they were supposed to. They came, they talked with us, but they didn't really allow us any adequate input.

I encourage the leaders, like the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor), who has been on this issue, to continue this dialogue with the Department and the U.S. Senate in conference.

My amendment would have cut the executive office budget of HUD here in Washington, D.C., by $3.5 million and, instead, devoted those funds back to our local communities to fight homelessness among veterans, foreclosures, and the other challenges we face.

The shift of these dollars out of D.C. to our local communities would have sent a very strong message. You know, those fields offices, especially the one I had in the Tampa Bay area, was a critical access point for my neighbors and for many of the community's nonprofits.

We are being hurt by their decision, and all my amendment would have done--and I hope this dialogue will continue--is ensure that the Department remains focused on backing up what they said that they would do to ensure that our local communities would not be hurt by taking away people on the ground that interact on an everyday basis with the people we represent.

So at this time, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor) for his involvement in this issue and urge everyone involved in the negotiations to emphasize the importance of having HUD focused on their mission on the ground in our neighborhoods, in our cities and towns and not on the bureaucracy here in Washington, D.C.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:51 PM EDT

Kathy Anne Castor, D-FL 14th

Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chair, if I had an opportunity to offer my amendment today, an amendment that passed with the support of both parties in last year's T-HUD appropriations bill, I would raise the fact that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in many communities across the country, has taken a step back from their mission.

They have a very important mission when it comes to homelessness among veterans, ensuring affordable housing partnerships, and combating the foreclosure crisis.

Still, last year, we were disserved by the leadership at the Department when they closed a number of field offices all across the country, including the field office in the Tampa Bay area, that I represent, and in the Orlando area.

Now, Florida has a population of almost 20 million people. We have 1.5 million veterans, and it is estimated that about 8,000 of them are homeless. We have 47,000 people in Florida that are battling homelessness, and our foreclosure rate is still too high. Nearly 9 percent of all Florida homes with mortgages are in some state of foreclosure.

So it was very disturbing last year when HUD pulled back on the ground, closed community offices in Tampa and Orlando. In fact, they shut down 16 field offices. The problem was that they didn't consult Congress, as they were supposed to. They came, they talked with us, but they didn't really allow us any adequate input.

I encourage the leaders, like the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor), who has been on this issue, to continue this dialogue with the Department and the U.S. Senate in conference.

My amendment would have cut the executive office budget of HUD here in Washington, D.C., by $3.5 million and, instead, devoted those funds back to our local communities to fight homelessness among veterans, foreclosures, and the other challenges we face.

The shift of these dollars out of D.C. to our local communities would have sent a very strong message. You know, those fields offices, especially the one I had in the Tampa Bay area, was a critical access point for my neighbors and for many of the community's nonprofits.

We are being hurt by their decision, and all my amendment would have done--and I hope this dialogue will continue--is ensure that the Department remains focused on backing up what they said that they would do to ensure that our local communities would not be hurt by taking away people on the ground that interact on an everyday basis with the people we represent.

So at this time, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Pastor) for his involvement in this issue and urge everyone involved in the negotiations to emphasize the importance of having HUD focused on their mission on the ground in our neighborhoods, in our cities and towns and not on the bureaucracy here in Washington, D.C.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:54 PM EDT

G.K. Butterfield, D-NC 1st

Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Chairman, if I would have been able to offer my amendment today, it would have clarified an existing Federal highway priority corridor between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Norfolk, Virginia.

It would have also codified the corridor as a future interstate highway. This designation, Mr. Chairman, could eventually improve transportation and commerce and economic development in North Carolina and Virginia.

Eastern North Carolina, Mr. Chairman, remains one of the poorest areas in the country, despite the economic resurgence many other areas of the country have seen. My amendment, if it had been made in order, would enable future construction between Raleigh and Norfolk to build on an existing corridor where half of the route already meets Federal freeway standards.

Improving on existing infrastructure can save taxpayer money and help expedite the project's completion.

Mr. Chairman, I urge colleagues in future debates to consider this request.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:56 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.

The motion was agreed to.

Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Latham) having assumed the chair, Mr. Chaffetz, Acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4745) making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes, had come to no resolution

thereon.

END