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Velázquez on Appropriations Legislation

Velázquez on Appropriations Legislation
December 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) commented today on two pieces of appropriations legislation that were voted on in the House of Representatives:

“The domestic spending bill that the House approved today contained a number of Democratic priorities important to the working people of New York and to our nation overall. 

“Importantly the legislation provides a total of $49.1 billion for the Department Housing and Urban Development, $4.9 billion above the Fiscal Year 2019 enacted level and $12.4 billion above the President’s budget request.  $2.9 billion will be made available for the Public Housing Capital Fund.  These badly needed resources will help to repair leaking radiators, drafty windows and other maintenance performed at NYCHA developments and throughout the country. We should note the President’s budget request proposed eliminating this program entirely and I’m proud Congress is rejecting that radical cut.  The bill also appropriates $23.9 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance, $1.6 billion more than was requested in the President’s budget request.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that the House approved $45 million to address health hazards stemming from lead in public housing agencies that are overseen by a federal monitor. I was proud to work with Senator Schumer in achieving this outcome and I thank Chairwoman Lowey for including this provision, which will be so valuable to New York. 

“Beyond housing, there are myriad other positive elements in this measure.  K-12 education is robustly funded, receiving $5.9 billion beyond the Administration’s budget request.  Head Start initiatives will see an increase of $550 million, helping more children achieve their full potential. 

“Important healthcare and nutrition priorities are also funded for New Yorkers, seniors and other vulnerable populations. Programs combatting substance abuse will receive $140 million more than was enacted last year.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is funded for three years with $67 billion, providing food security for millions of working families, seniors and others. 

“I am especially appreciative that there is stopgap funding to address Puerto Rico’s disparate treatment under the Medicaid program for the next two years. While we still need a permanent fix to this problem, I’m thankful that, under this bill, the Island can receive as much as $5.7 billion for its Medicaid program during the next two fiscal years.  With regards to Puerto Rico, there are also tough incentives in this bill with real teeth to force HUD to release disaster assistance funds it has previously held up.

“While the legislation passed for domestic spending made important strides, I could not support the second appropriations bill, which funds, among other agencies, the Department of Homeland Security. This Homeland Security ‘minibus’ increases funding for both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol at exactly the time these agencies are behaving in a rogue manner that is unrepresentative of American values. Further, the bill includes $1.37 billion in border wall funding and fails to prevent the Administration from stealing from other government programs to finance Donald Trump’s hateful wall. For these reasons, I joined with my Congressional Hispanic Caucus colleagues in voting against this measure.”

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