July 15, 2020

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Passage of FY2021 Transportation and Housing Appropriations Funding Bill

Washington, D.C. –Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), member of the House Appropriations Committee, released a statement in response to the passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Transportation and Housing Appropriations. 

The legislation funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies, including the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. For fiscal year 2021, the legislation provides $158.3 billion in base budgetary resources. The bill includes $75.9 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $1.7 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $16.8 billion above the President’s 2021 budget request.  

Consistent with the INVEST in America Act, the bill includes budgetary resources for surface transportation programs totaling $78.7 billion. In addition, the legislation provides $75 billion to support the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by investing in our nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure.

 “As cities around the country see serious decreases to transit ridership due to COVID-19, it’s critical that we seriously invest in our roads, bridges and infrastructure projects,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “I’m pleased to see that we have invested over $75 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of nearly 2 billion from last year, to assist in completing these critical projects.  

“We are making good on Congressional priorities to create jobs through BUILD grants, which invest in transportation infrastructure around the country. As our economy shutters from this pandemic, providing real job opportunities for families to earn a living wage is imperative.  

“I worked hard with my colleagues to ensure we make meaningful investment in affordable federal housing, which will help communities like mine in the East Bay, which is currently experiencing an affordable housing crisis. In addition, we successfully included support for COVID-19 economic recovery through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s programs to bolster communities nationwide. These programs make robust investments to public housing, affordable housing, and community development, and several of these initiatives are targeted toward communities of color and vulnerable communities. We were also able to successfully fight back against the Trump administration’s discriminatory public housing rule changes that target undocumented immigrants, threatening the housing of 55,00 children who are citizens or legal residents, and weakens housing protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We also secured significant increases to Homeless Assistance Grants, which are important to improving access to housing and providing permanent supportive housing programs for families, veterans, and those who are chronically homeless. This is especially true in California where the homelessness count is about 130,000 families. Additionally, we secured $430 million for Housing Opportunities for people with AIDS, the only federal program dedicated to helping people living with AIDS find housing. 

“Especially in this time of reckoning to address social justice issues, we must look at every piece of legislation through a racial justice lens. Historically, communities of color have faced harmful discrimination when it comes to housing and transportation. This is an opportunity to reverse course. We must ensure that affordable housing, equitable transportation, and job creation are at the forefront of our Congressional priorities as we fend off this public health crisis.”

A summary of the bill is here. The text of the bill, prior to adoption of amendments in full committee, is here. The bill report is here.