Harlem Rep. Adriano Espaillat delivered the following remarks during the full House Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) markup.
The markup was of Fiscal Year 2022 government funding bills, where he highlighted a number of his priorities that were included in the bill.
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The following are remarks by Rep. Espaillat, as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Madam Chair. I want to thank Chairman Price for his work on this very good Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill. And in particular, I want to thank the T-HUD staff for working with me to include so many of my priorities, including all of my project requests.
“I am particularly glad to see an increase in the Capital Investment Grants program, which will fund the extension of the Second Avenue Subway into the transit desert of East Harlem. And I appreciate the inclusion of language that ensures the Federal Transit Administration resumes the practice of recommending projects for Full Funding Grant Agreements.
“I am also glad to see language in the bill that will ensure transportation infrastructure funds through the old TIGER program are not clawed back as a result of delays caused by the pandemic. New York City stood to lose $10 million in unspent funds, and this language will ensure we can continue to invest in our infrastructure. While I am very glad about the investments made in transportation, some of the best components of this bill are the strong investments it makes in affordable and public housing. More than an $800 million increase to upgrade our deteriorating public housing stock. Funding for an additional 125,000 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. 2,200 additional affordable housing units for low-income seniors and 1,800 units for individuals with disabilities.
And I am so grateful the subcommittee staff and chairman worked with me and my colleague Ritchie Torres to include a provision that will allow public housing agencies to use reserve funds to issue additional vouchers.
The demand for rental assistance has skyrocketed as a result of the pandemic, and I strongly believe we should allow agencies to put reserve funds to use to help people.
This provision will allow New York City alone to provide an additional 1,500 vouchers.
“Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the strong equity language included throughout the bill and report, especially language about exploring ways to reconnect communities by capping highways that were built with racist and classist intent decades ago.
“This T-HUD bill makes serious strides toward investing in our communities, and I am proud to have helped in crafting it as a member of the subcommittee. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield back.”
Rep. Espaillat was able to secure numerous policy and funding wins in the bill. In addition to the inclusion of five of his 10 Community Project Funding requests, Espaillat was able to secure language that will allow New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to issue an additional 1500 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.
Rep. Espaillat also led an effort to increase the Capital Investment Grants program by $200 million, to a total of $2.5 billion.
The program would fund the Second Avenue Subway Phase II Extension project. Rep. Espaillat also secured language in the bill that would prevent federal transportation funds awarded to NYCDOT through the TIGER program) from being rescinded at the end of this fiscal year.
Due to the pandemic and delays receiving the funds, the city was unable to spend approximately $10 million of a $25 million award within the specified timeline. Inclusion of this language will save the city from losing the remaining funds.
The bill also includes the following items Rep. Espaillat fought for:
- An additional 125,000 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers;
- An $834 million increase to invest in improving public housing;
- $600 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS to protect housing and services for more than
- 75,000 low-income people living with HIV;
- An additional $1 billion for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly to build approximately 2,200 new affordable housing units for low-income seniors; and
- $352 million for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities to construct approximately 1,800 new affordable housing units for persons with disabilities.
Full details of the bill’s provisions can be found here.
Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill, and the northwest Bronx.
First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.
He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.
Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.