Today, Congressman Mike Michaud voted in support of H.R. 5972, the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013, which contained many of his funding priorities. The bill passed the House 261 to 163.
H.R. 5972 provides funding for transportation and infrastructure, including the federal-aid highway programs reauthorized in the surface transportation bill. It included $3.34 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, an increase of nearly $400 million from FY12, and funded federal transit programs at FY12 levels.
"I am pleased that this bill includes an increase in funding for the Community Development Block Grant program and protects the federal-aid highway program, the Highway Trust Fund, and the Airport Improvement program from harmful cuts" said Michaud, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "These are smart federal investments that boost our competitiveness and create jobs."
The bill includes $2 billion of funding for homeless assistance grants, an increase of nearly $100 million over FY12. It also provided $75 million for the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, which provides housing assistance for homeless veterans. Michaud led a congressional effort to maintain funding for this critical program. According to a 2009 report, more than 16% of adults experiencing homelessness identified themselves as veterans.
"I am pleased that appropriators agreed with my request to maintain funding for the critical HUD-VASH program. Our veterans fought for our country, and we must fight for them when they come home," said Michaud. "In addition to providing them the very best health care and helping them find a job, we must ensure that all veterans have a roof over their heads."
Although most of Michaud's priorities were funded as requested, a few were not. The bill did not include funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, and it cut funding for the project-based Section 8 housing program by $1.2 billion.
"This was not a perfect bill, but it is a step in the right direction. I will work to improve the Section 8 funding levels and to include appropriations for the TIGER grants in the final bill that's sent to the President for his signature."