Amendment Text: H.Amdt.422 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (06/09/2015)

This Amendment appears on page H3975 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Pages H3971-H3990]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 
                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016


                             General Leave

  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include extraneous material on H.R. 2577, and that I may include 
tabular material on the same.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 287 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the further consideration of the bill, 
H.R. 2577.
  Will the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) kindly resume 
the chair.

                              {time}  1949


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the further consideration of 
the bill (H.R. 2577) making appropriations for the Departments of 
Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies 
for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes, 
with Ms. Ros-Lehtinen (Acting Chair) in the chair.

[[Page H3972]]

  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The Acting CHAIR. When the Committee of the Whole rose earlier today, 
an amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Posey) had been 
disposed of, and the bill had been read through page 156, line 15.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I yield to the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Frelinghuysen) for the purpose of a colloquy.
  Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the chairman for yielding, and I thank him 
for his great work on this appropriations bill.
  Madam Chairman, for over 20 years I have been a staunch advocate for 
reducing aircraft noise over northern New Jersey. I have attended 
dozens of public hearings and meetings with officials from the FAA and 
responded to thousands of calls from constituents whose lives have been 
affected by increased aircraft noise.
  While the safety of airplane passengers is paramount and the vitality 
of our air transport system is important, people on the ground have a 
right to a quality of life with a minimum exposure to air noise 
overhead.
  Despite spending over $70 million in taxpayer dollars on the New 
York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia airspace redesign project, time and 
time again the Federal Aviation Administration has turned a deaf ear to 
the tremendous impact air noise has had over northern New Jersey. I 
recently wrote two letters to the FAA to bring my constituent concerns 
directly to Administrator Michael Huerta's attention. To date, these 
letters and my constituents' pleas for help have gone unanswered.
  As the FAA proceeds with the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia 
airspace redesign, they must factor air noise into their calculations. 
I look forward to working with the chairman to ensure that this is 
done.
  I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. I want to again thank the gentleman for raising this 
important issue. I appreciate his dedication to ensuring that his 
constituents' air noise concerns are adequately addressed by the FAA.
  Again, I thank the gentleman, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.


          Amendment Offered by Ms. Maxine Waters of California

  Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at 
the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. 4__.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to establish any asset management position (including 
     any account executive, senior account executive, and troubled 
     asset specialist position, as such positions are described in 
     the Field Resource Manual (Wave 1) entitled ``Transformation: 
     Multifamily for Tomorrow'' of the Department of Housing and 
     Urban Development) of the Office of Multifamily Housing of 
     the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or newly 
     hire an employee for any asset management position, that is 
     located at a Core office (as such term is used in such Field 
     Resource Manual) before filling each such asset management 
     position that is located at a Non-Core office (as such term 
     is used in such Field Resource Manual) and has been vacated 
     since October 1, 2015.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentlewoman 
from California and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Madam Chair, I rise to offer an 
amendment regarding HUD's multifamily transformation plan. I will 
ultimately withdraw this amendment because I know that there will be 
Republican opposition, but I think it is important for me to speak out 
against the ill-advised plan.
  The Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently in the 
process of a major consolidation of its multifamily offices, which it 
has dubbed the multifamily transformation plan. I have been vocal in my 
skepticism of HUD's assurances that this plan will bring about 
significant savings without impacting program delivery.
  In fact, last year this House approved an amendment to the fiscal 
year 2015 appropriations bill that required HUD to follow a 
transformation plan that maintains asset management staff in its field 
offices. I fought for this amendment because I believe strongly that 
HUD's plan to consolidate the important function of asset management 
from 17 hubs overseeing 50 field offices into just 5 hub locations and 
7 satellite offices would significantly impair program delivery without 
resulting in significant cost savings.
  Asset management is a hands-on job which calls for an intimate 
knowledge of the local housing market and frequently requires staff to 
make on-site visits to troubled properties. That is why it is so 
important to have asset management staff in local field offices to 
respond to local needs.
  Unfortunately, I have been hearing from advocates that HUD has been 
failing to replace vacancies in asset management positions in field 
offices and is only hiring new asset management staff in hub locations. 
This is unacceptable. There are already two field offices that have 
completely shuttered because they have no working staff. In Los 
Angeles, we have already lost 15 asset management staff who have not 
been replaced.
  My amendment would ensure that HUD prioritizes the hiring of asset 
management staff in local field offices for vacancies that occur in the 
next fiscal year instead of continuing to consolidate this important 
function to a select few hub and satellite locations. It would help 
ensure that our multifamily field offices remain open and operating at 
current staffing levels. Without this amendment, local multifamily 
offices will continue to have more vacancies that go unfilled.
  I regretfully ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from California?
  There was no objection.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Yoho

  Mr. YOHO. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used in contravention of subpart E of part 5 of the 
     regulations of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development 
     (24 C.F.R. Part 5, Subpart E; relating to restrictions on 
     assistance to noncitizens).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Florida and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Chair, my amendment simply ensures that no funds can 
be used to circumvent current law which prevents illegal immigrants 
from obtaining housing assistance. Spending should be prioritized based 
on the needs of American taxpaying citizens, not those who are residing 
in our country illegally.
  Constituents back in my district and throughout the country work hard 
every day, and their needs should not play second fiddle to those of 
immigrants who broke our laws and came into this country illegally.
  With the continued efforts by some in this country to disregard the 
rule of law, much to the detriment of taxpaying Americans, I truly 
believe this amendment is necessary to clarify and reinforce the intent 
of Congress as it pertains to housing assistance providing via HUD.
  This is a simple, commonsense amendment that shows the hard-working 
American citizens that we are serious when it comes to spending their 
tax dollars and that we will not use their hard-earned money to 
prioritize and reward those who break our laws. I urge my colleagues to 
support this amendment and support the rule of law.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I do oppose this amendment. 
On the face of it, it simply restates existing regulations, but I fear 
there is another motive at play, that is, an anti-immigrant agenda.

[[Page H3973]]

  Let me explain what I mean. This amendment feeds into the widely held 
misperception that many undocumented individuals are, in fact, 
obtaining Federal benefits despite restrictions--verification 
procedures--specifically designed to prohibit such activity.
  We must not allow this appropriations bill to become a platform to 
denigrate immigrants in this country or to score political points at 
their expense. We need real solutions. We need to actually fix our 
broken immigration system. We shouldn't be wasting valuable floor time 
on amendments such as these. We would be better served by moving 
comprehensive immigration reform, fully debating it in this Chamber.

                              {time}  2000

  We are ready to do that. We can pass comprehensive immigration 
reform, if the Speaker would bring it to the floor, this very week. 
Until then, I would ask restraint on amendments that in no way alter 
existing law and regulation and only serve to stir controversy, 
reinforce prejudices, and distract us from the business at hand.
  I urge defeat of this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Chair, this amendment is strictly about the rule of 
law and following the rule of law. I agree we shouldn't have to debate 
immigration here. This is not about this. This is about following the 
rule of law.
  At this point, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert).
  Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Chair, this amendment has nothing to do with being 
anti-immigrant. In fact, the gentleman's comments play into that 
accusation. This is entirely incorrect and inappropriate. In fact, it 
reminds me of a comment a President made from right up there at that 
podium that no illegal aliens would get ObamaCare. Somebody thought 
that was not true and said so. It turns out it was not true. They have 
gotten it.
  I went home and talked to a number of people that were in and around 
Walmart this weekend--immigrants, people that are here legally, and 
they can't find work and they need help. They did everything to come 
here legally and properly--Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, African 
Americans, Anglo Americans--and they just need help.
  I would submit, if we are going to be true to the oath we took to our 
Constitution and the laws which uphold our Constitution, we need to be 
about helping those that are under our care, those who have come 
legally.
  I support the gentleman's amendment, and I appreciate him doing it. 
It is a pro-immigrant amendment for immigrants that will come legally, 
and there are plenty of those here.
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Chair, to the ranking member, I would love to have 
that discussion down the road about responsible immigration reform, and 
I think we need to have that. The American people expect it. They 
deserve it, and I look forward to having that.
  In the meantime, this is just a commonsense amendment that strictly 
puts the emphasis on following the rule of law, and I think all 
Americans, regardless of what side of the aisle, would stand supporting 
the Constitution, the very document that we all took an oath to.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Yoho).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Florida will 
be postponed.


              Amendment No. 16 Offered by Ms. Jackson Lee

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used in contravention of section 5309 of title 49, United 
     States Code.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentlewoman 
from Texas and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me thank the ranking member, Mr. Price, and his 
staff, as well as the chairman, Mr. Diaz-Balart, for their work on 
something that is very close and near and dear to many Members' hearts. 
It certainly is close to mine.
  The Jackson Lee amendment was passed last year. I am grateful to have 
the opportunity this year to restate the fact that this amendment 
indicates that none of the funds made available by this act under the 
heading ``Federal Transit Administration: Transit Formula Grants'' may 
be used in contravention of section 5309.
  This is, as I said, an amendment identical to the Jackson Lee 
amendment. Might I just briefly speak to this amendment. It affirms the 
importance to the Nation of projects that create economic development, 
particularly in the transportation area.
  It particularly says that the Secretary of Transportation may make 
grants under this section to State and local governments; it has the 
authority to assist in financing capital projects, small start-up 
projects, including the acquisition of real property.
  The key is that these grants under State and local authority can 
undertake capital projects, which means that, when local governments 
propose their projects, the Secretary has the authority to go forward. 
Nothing can contravene that authority.
  It is well documented that nothing enhances the competitiveness of a 
Nation in this increasingly globalized economy than investments in 
transportation and infrastructure capital projects.
  I will include an article about transportation dated March 31, 2015, 
into the Record.

              [From the Houston Chronicle, Mar. 31, 2015]

            Study Finds Houston Traffic Congestion Worsening

                            (By Dug Begley)

       As workday commutes go, Raj Dada's isn't terrible. He lives 
     east of Jersey Village, an easy drive from the freeway. His 
     off-ramp from Interstate 10 puts him practically in front of 
     his job near Bunker Hill.
       In each of the past three years, though, the daily drive 
     has gotten worse, Dada said.
       ``I leave earlier than I used to,'' he said Monday morning 
     as he stopped for gas near his office. ``Even on weekends, 
     it's taking longer to get around all the construction and 
     traffic.''
       It's a common dilemma for Houston motorists. Congestion in 
     Houston increased sharply from 2013 to 2014, according to a 
     report released Tuesday by TomTom, developer of the mapping 
     and traffic data fed to phones and other GPS devices.
       Analysts said trips in the region on average last year took 
     25 percent longer than they would have in free-flowing 
     conditions, compared with 21 percent longer in 2013.
       This means that a hypothetical 30-minute, congestion-free 
     trip, on average, takes about 52 minutes at peak commuting 
     times. For an entire year, it means drivers waste 85 hours--
     more than 3.5 days--plodding along the highways and streets 
     of Houston.
       It's the first increase in TomTom's traffic index for 
     Houston in four years after three consecutive years of slight 
     declines.
       Growing cities with robust economies tend to experience the 
     biggest increases in traffic. Oil price dips notwithstanding, 
     Houston certainly fits the bill, said Tony Voigt, the program 
     manager for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's Houston 
     office.
       Voigt said local analysis supports the conclusion in the 
     TomTom report: More local streets and highways are more 
     congested for more hours of the day. Even weekend trips to 
     some spots--notably retail corridors--can be increasingly 
     time-consuming.
       ``This is a result of more people living here as compared 
     to two or three years ago and our economy being very active 
     and healthy,'' Voigt said.
       Nick Cohn, senior traffic expert for TomTom, said the 
     opposite is true in places where job prospects are not as 
     strong, based on the company's worldwide traffic research.
       ``In Moscow, where there has really been an economic 
     slowdown and gas prices are up, there has been a slowdown,'' 
     Cohn said.
       Moscow and other international cities continue to 
     experience traffic far worse than cities in the U.S. In the 
     United States, Houston ranked 12th-worst among major cities 
     for traffic, compared to 85th worldwide.
       News that 11 other American cities have worse congestion 
     isn't comforting to Houston drivers.
       ``It's terrible,'' said Debbie Curry, 60, a lifelong 
     Houstonian. ``Traffic in this city has gotten worse. When I 
     moved (to western Houston) I thought it would get better. It 
     did for a little while; now it's as bad as it's ever been.''
       Reasons why Houston drivers spend so much of their time in 
     traffic vary, but most theories circle back to explosive 
     growth.

[[Page H3974]]

       ``Some of the congestion on U.S. 290 and on (Loop 610 
     North) is, of course, construction-related,'' Voigt said. 
     ``But what we are really seeing is travel demand is greater 
     overall, and this is causing the peak congestion periods to 
     spread out.''
       Peak commutes, once contained to two hours each in the 
     morning and evening, are spreading to three and sometimes 
     four hours. Though it means more days when traffic is heavy 
     for longer periods, the gradual growth of peak commuting 
     periods isn't all bad, Cohn said.
       ``It means at least when possible they are being flexible 
     with those work-to-home and home-to-work trips,'' Cohn said, 
     noting that an alternative could be a more compressed--but 
     more severe--peak commuting period.
       Houston-area officials have a long list of road-widening 
     projects planned over the next decade, along with some 
     transit growth. Suburban areas, notably Conroe and The 
     Woodlands, are exploring their own transit options. It's a 
     pattern across the U.S., Cohn said.
       Each city faces different obstacles, Cohn said. Houston's 
     lack of density could make transit less effective, but public 
     transportation remains a critical part of any congestion 
     relief as roads dominate.
       Many municipalities, state transportation officials and 
     counties in the area have made ``significant requests for 
     roadway dollars,'' said Houston Councilman Stephen Costello, 
     chairman of the Transportation Policy Council of the Houston-
     Galveston Area Council.
       Those projects are not just about relieving traffic now, 
     but about building before it gets worse, Costello said.
       Any improvements are constrained by funding, which federal 
     and state lawmakers have been slow to deliver. Federal 
     officials remain at an impasse about a long-term 
     transportation bill, and many have shown reluctance to 
     increase federal highway spending. Texas voters last year 
     approved $1.7 billion for state highways, leaving about $3.3 
     billion in additional money needed, according to the Texas 
     A&M Transportation Institute.
       That funding shortfall has many, especially officials in 
     suburban Houston, worried as their traffic worsens and 
     projects crawl toward completion, said West University Place 
     Mayor Bob Fry.
       ``I think outside (Loop 610) is going to be worse for 
     traffic than inside the Loop,'' Fry said. ``Inside is built 
     out, and it's not going to get worse like it is outside.''
       In the urban core, Fry said, transit is the important 
     investment. He said Metro's upcoming redesign of bus service 
     will ``help quite a bit.''


                            Personal choice

       With projects slow to take shape, Cohn said drivers might 
     see the best results by using an increasing and improving 
     array of traffic information available to them. Houston's 
     TranStar system--a partnership of Houston, Harris County, the 
     Texas Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan 
     Transit Authority--is one of the largest and most 
     comprehensive real-time traffic systems in the country.
       ``There used to be a big difference between what the 
     highway authority has and what real-time traffic systems 
     have,'' Cohn said. ``It is more of a unified service now.''
       When a motorist finds alternate routes to avoid congestion, 
     it helps not just that driver but also others because one 
     less vehicle is clogging up the problem spot.
       Reliance on the information, and better personal planning, 
     might be the best relief for traffic now.
       ``I don't think drivers can sit back and wait for some big 
     infrastructure project,'' he said.
                                  ____


               [From the Houston Chronicle, Feb. 5, 2013]

              Congestion A Constant for Houston Commuters

                            (By Dug Begley)

       Houston region has been rated as having the sixth worst 
     commute in the nation based on hours of delay.
       The good news is that traffic congestion isn't getting much 
     worse in the Houston area. The bad news is it was pretty bad 
     to begin with.
       Houston commuters continue to endure some of the worst 
     traffic delays in the country, according to the 2012 Urban 
     Mobility Report released Tuesday by the Texas A&M 
     Transportation Commission. Area drivers wasted more than two 
     days a year, on average, in traffic congestion, costing them 
     each $1,090 in lost time and fuel.
       And it's unlikely to get any better, researchers and public 
     officials say.
       ``I think as rapidly as this area is growing, (the 
     challenge) is just trying to stay where we are,'' Harris 
     County Judge Ed Emmett said of the traffic congestion.
       Planned toll projects on U.S. 290 and eventually Interstate 
     45 will help ease traffic, just as the Katy Freeway managed 
     lanes did in 2008, Emmett said.
       Drivers take the congestion in stride and devise their own 
     strategies to deal with the hassle. Roger Wilson, 54, takes a 
     park and ride bus from Katy, but his co-worker Brad Steele, 
     39, drives in from Spring. Over lunch Monday, both claimed 
     their method was best.
        ``Yeah, you get to read or sleep,'' Steele told Wilson, 
     ``but I would rather have my car.''
       But as long as Houston attracts jobs, and those jobs 
     attract workers, commuting hassles will persist, said Tim 
     Lomax, a co-author of the mobility report.
        ``We're hitting the limits of improving traffic by 
     widening the roads,'' said Stephen Klineberg, co-director of 
     the Kinder Center for Urban Research at Rice University.
       With 4 million people in Harris County, and another 1 
     million coming in the next 20 years, the region will embrace 
     new development patterns that reduce the need for driving--
     but on its own terms and without abandoning the car, 
     Klineberg said.
       ``Suburban areas are developing town centers and walkable 
     urbanist developments,'' Klineberg said, pointing to 
     developments in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and Pearland.


                            Drivers adapting

       The new patterns follow years of steady outward growth, 
     leading to greater distances between homes and workplaces.
       Based on the mobility report, in 1982 drivers spent about 
     22 hours each year stuck in congestion, a figure that has 
     increased almost every year since. Traffic congestion peaked 
     in 2008 at 55 hours, the same year two carpool/toll lanes 
     along I-10 opened between downtown and Katy. The lanes took 
     five years to complete and cost $2.8 billion.
       But some of the best ways to reduce congestion are less 
     costly. As Houston drivers have acclimated to rush-hour 
     traffic jams, they've become more adept at saving themselves 
     time.
        ``People are adjusting when they leave,'' Lomax said, 
     noting resources that provide real-time traffic information. 
     As smartphones and computers become more common, and workdays 
     come with greater flexibility for some people to work from 
     home, commuters can adjust to less-stressful drive times.
       Thus, even though they have the sixth-worst commute in the 
     country based on hours of delay, the region's drivers rank 
     21st on a new calculation that determines how much extra time 
     drivers have to build into their trips. The new measure, 
     called the freeway planning time index, shows drivers don't 
     have to build in as much extra time as others, because 
     planning and good freeway clearance rates by tow trucks keep 
     roads moving, Lomax said.
       Public transit can provide some relief, but with jobs in 
     Houston divided among a dozen or so job areas, it's hard for 
     public transit to carry everyone where they need to go 
     efficiently, Lomax said.
       Still, drivers and elected officials said traffic 
     congestion is spreading farther from the urban core and 
     growing.


                             Trucking hurt

        ``I think within the next two years it is going to get 
     worse,'' said Liberty County Commissioner Norman Brown, who 
     said traffic is already worsening for some Dayton-area 
     drivers.
       Some congestion on the region's fringes is the result of 
     trucking and manufacturing, Brown said. The mobility report 
     found congestion accounted for $646 million in cost to 
     businesses reliant on trucking in 2011, up from $490 million 
     in 2007.
       Emmett said the shipping growth demonstrates the need for 
     investment in rail and other methods to move goods.
       Lomax said congestion caused by flourishing truck business 
     can be a good problem to have.
       ``Economic recession seems to be the one foolproof way of 
     controlling congestion,'' Lomax said. ``But nobody's saying 
     that is a solution.''

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Just to emphasize, finally, whether it is seaways, 
dams, highways, or tollways, whether it involves other modes of 
transportation, transportation projects are major engines driving the 
economy. That is why we are here on the floor. It is important for the 
local communities to be drivers of that. The metropolitan regions will 
not be able to maintain economic vitality without this investment.
  Finally, the Jackson Lee amendment clearly speaks to the global 
aspects of the Secretary of Transportation having the ability to work 
with our local and State governments.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in restating that the Secretary of 
Transportation has authority to work with local and State entities on 
the proposed projects that they have and for these projects to continue 
to grow and develop to ease traffic congestion.
  Madam Chair, Let me thank Subcommittee Chairman Diaz-Balart and 
Ranking Member Price for their leadership on this important legislation 
and for the opportunity to explain my amendment.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment adds at the end of the bill the following 
new section providing that:

       Sec. ___. None of the funds made available by this Act 
     under the heading `` Federal Transit Administration--Transit 
     Formula Grants'' may be used in contravention of section 5309 
     of title 49, United States Code.

  This amendment is identical to the Jackson Lee Amendment to H.R. 
4775, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations 
Act for FY2015 adopted by the House last year by voice vote.
  In particular, the Jackson Lee affirms the importance to the nation 
of projects that create economic development, particularly in the 
transportation area.

[[Page H3975]]

  Pursuant to section 5309 of title 49, the Secretary of Transportation 
may make grants under this section to State and local government the 
authority to assist in financing capital projects, small startup 
projects, including the acquisition of real property.
  This section further supports capacity improvements, including double 
tracking, and it specifically relates to work that deals with projects 
on approved transportation plans.
  That is key; section 5309 of title 49 grants to State and local 
governments the authority to undertake capital projects, which means 
that when local governments propose their projects, the Secretary has 
the authority to go forward on them.
  It's instructive to consider what some of the nation's leading 
transportation and economic development organizations have to say about 
the importance and economic impact of investments in local light rail 
capital projects.
  It is well documented that nothing enhances the competitiveness of a 
nation in this increasingly globalized economy, than investments in 
transportation infrastructure capital projects.
  Whether it is the seaways, dams, highways, or tollways, and whether 
it involves other modes of transportation, transportation projects are 
major engines driving the economy.
  And it is important for the local community to be the drivers of 
that.
  Metropolitan regions will not be able to maintain its economic 
vitality without the ability to create and preserve infrastructure that 
supports the movement of people and goods throughout our country.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment clearly speaks to the global aspect of the 
Secretary of Transportation having the ability to work with our local 
and State governments.
  Houston is the fourth most populous city in the country; but unlike 
other large cities, we have struggled to have an effective mass transit 
system.
  Over many decades Houston's mass transit policy was to build more 
highways with more lanes to carry more drivers to and from work.
  The city of Houston has changed course and is now pursuing Mass 
transit options that include light rail.
  This decision to invest in light rail was and is strongly supported 
by Houstonians by their votes in a 2003 referendum and by their 
increased usage of light rail service made possible in part by 
transportation appropriations bills.
  Specifically, Harris County voters passed a massive referendum 
proposal that was to set the stage for transit for the next 20 years.
  It included a first stage of four light rail lines, to be complete by 
2012, and a master plan for a 65-mile system, to be complete by 2025.
  An April 2014 report by the Houston METRO on weekly ridership states 
that 44,267 used Houston's light rail service, which represented a 
6,096 or 16% increase in ridership from April of the previous year.
  This increase in light rail usage outpaced ridership of other forms 
of mass transit in the city of Houston: metro bus had a 2.3% increase 
over April 2013; metro bus-local had a 1.3% increase over April 2013; 
and Metro bus-Park and ride had a 8.0% increase over April 2013.
  In a story published February 5, 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported 
on the congestion Houston drivers face under daily commute to and from 
work.
  According to the Chronicle article, in 2011 Houston commuters 
continue to enjoy some of the worst traffic delays in the country, and 
Houston area drivers wasted more than two days a year, on average, in 
traffic congestion, costing them each $1,090 in lost time and fuel.
  Today, those figures have increased to 3.5 days a year wasted in 
traffic congestion, costing them each $1,850 in lost time and fuel.
  To put it in simpler and starker terms: A driver in Houston could see 
154 movies this year or purchase 21 tickets to a home Texans game with 
the money wasted because of poorly maintained or traffic-clogged roads.
  Expanded light rail is critical to Houston's plan to meet its 
transportation and environmental challenges, ease its traffic 
congestion, and improve its air quality.
  Places most likely to see immediate benefit from light rail in 
Houston are the 50,000 students that attend the University of Houston 
and Texas Southern University.
  Funds made available under this deal should be available to support 
local government decisions of the Houston Metropolitan Transit 
Authority and the city of Houston to expand rail service.
  When we put our minds to it, we can get things done.
  In Houston, we built a port 50 miles from the ocean, created the 
world's greatest medical center in the middle of open prairie, and 
convinced the federal government to base its astronauts in a hurricane 
zone 870 miles from the launch pad.
  Each of those achievements shares a common element: elected officials 
have advocated, built public support, and brought the agencies 
together.
  Members of Congress should respect the decisions of state and local 
governments when it comes to deciding how they will spend funding made 
available for public transportation under this appropriations bill.
  I ask my colleagues to again support the Jackson Lee Amendment and 
affirm the authority of the Secretary of Transportation to work with 
local governments to develop local transit projects that will relieve 
traffic congestion, efficiently move people and goods, create jobs and 
maintain America's status as the leading economy in the world.
  I ask my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee amendment, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  The amendment was agreed to.


               Amendment Offered by Mr. Brooks of Alabama

  Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to provide financial assistance in contravention of 
     section 214(d) of the Housing and Community Development Act 
     of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 1436a(d)).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Alabama and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama.
  Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Madam Chair, America recently blew through the 
$18 trillion debt mark. America's Comptroller General warns that 
America's debt path is unsustainable.
  In short, Washington's financial irresponsibility threatens America 
with a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy that risks destroying the 
America our ancestors sacrificed so much to build.
  With this impending financial crisis as a backdrop, I ask the House 
of Representatives to have the courage, to have the backbone, to be 
financially responsible. The House can do that in part by adopting my 
amendment that eliminates Federal Government housing subsidies for 
illegal aliens.
  How big is this problem? Census Bureau data analyzed by the Center 
for Immigration Studies in 2012 reflects that at least 130,000 
households headed by self-identifying illegal aliens live in public or 
subsidized housing. That is potentially hundreds of millions of 
taxpayer dollars being illegally taken by illegal aliens with the tacit 
or open consent or even the encouragement of the United States 
Government.
  Think about that for a moment. While American families struggle to 
make ends meet, while America faces a debilitating and destructive 
insolvency and bankruptcy, while American families and lawful 
immigrants are being forced to wait in line for public housing, this 
administration ignores the law to spend potentially hundreds of 
millions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing illegal aliens, thereby 
encouraging their illegal conduct.
  Madam Chair, my amendment is simple. It prohibits funding to 
subsidized housing in violation of section 214(d) of the Housing and 
Community Development Act that, for clarity, bars HUD from providing 
taxpayer assistance for the benefit of an applicant ``before 
immigration documentation is presented and verified'' by DHS' automated 
Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system or a subsequent 
successful appeal.
  Unfortunately, this administration ignores the law and permits 
illegal aliens to move into public housing before the legality of their 
status is finally determined.
  Also, unfortunately, the administrative and legal process being what 
it is, it takes as much as 2 years to evict illegal alien tenants after 
their illegal alien status is discovered.
  Madam Chair, it is unacceptable that, in a time of out-of-control 
United States debt and deficit, HUD violates the law to give limited 
public housing benefits to illegal aliens, rather than needy American 
citizens and lawful immigrants.
  Madam Chair, I urge the adoption of my amendment that, first, denies 
public housing subsidies to illegal aliens; and, second, underscores 
the sense of

[[Page H3976]]

Congress that the law must be obeyed and that it is wrong to use public 
housing subsidies to reward illegal aliens for their illegal conduct.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition to 
this amendment. Once again, we have an amendment that, on its face, 
simply restates existing law. In fact, the gentleman offering the 
amendment has acknowledged that existing law categorically prohibits 
HUD benefits from going to undocumented persons.
  What is going on here? What is lurking beneath the surface? I fear 
something is. An anti-immigrant agenda based on fear and prejudice 
would appear to be the answer.
  We are feeding into widely held misconceptions that so many 
undocumented immigrants are seeking and receiving Federal benefits, 
that Federal programs, Federal dollars, are being abused and misused.
  Well, we do need to have a remedy for our broken immigration system. 
As I said earlier, a comprehensive immigration reform bill, bipartisan, 
passed the Senate last Congress. It could be placed on this floor 
tomorrow and pass overwhelmingly. That doesn't appear to be happening. 
Instead, what we have is this drumbeat of measures that are denigrating 
the immigrant community.
  We need to have some restraint in this body on such amendments. They 
don't alter existing law. They do, I am afraid, though, stir 
controversy. They reinforce prejudice and stereotypes. They distract us 
from the business at hand.
  I think it is an unworthy amendment. I urge my colleagues to reject 
it, and I yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart), the 
chairman of the subcommittee.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I think it is important to just kind of always try to lower the 
decibels as much as we can.
  This amendment, as both gentlemen have said, does not change current 
law. It doesn't change current HUD policies. It merely restates current 
law. I don't, frankly, see a reason to have the amendment. Likewise, I 
don't see a big reason to oppose the amendment that just, again, 
restates current law. I ask all sides to try to lower the rhetoric on 
this issue. This amendment does not change anything.
  As the ranking member knows, I have been involved in trying to get 
immigration reform for a long, long time and have worked with a number 
of Republicans and Democrats. I will tell you that both sides have had 
opportunities to get it done, and neither side got it done when they 
had the opportunity to get it done. I am hoping that we will be able to 
get it done.

                              {time}  2015

  But this is not the time and place to have that debate. So, again, 
while I don't see the need for this amendment, I don't see what the 
issue is of objecting to an amendment that, in essence, does absolutely 
nothing.
  I thank the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price) for allowing me 
some of his time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I thank the chairman, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Madam Chair, I find it interesting and 
somewhat perplexing how my good friend across the aisle talks about an 
anti-immigrant agenda appealing to fear and prejudice.
  It seems that whenever we start talking about border security and 
lawful immigration, the race card is played. And I would submit that 
that is because, in part, there is an absence of rational sound public 
policy for the position taken.
  Let's emphasize something. America has, far and away, the most 
generous lawful immigration policy in the world. No nation is as 
compassionate with respect to lawful immigrants as the United States of 
America is, and I challenge anyone to say different.
  I wish that this kind of amendment was not necessary, but when you 
have got an executive branch that has shown itself to be willingly 
lawless, to the point that two Federal judges, one in Pennsylvania and 
one in Texas, have had to render a decision trying to force this 
administration to obey the law, then I would submit, Madam Chair, that 
it is important to have these kinds of amendments to also deny the 
funding that otherwise would be used for that lawless conduct.
  I ask for support of the amendment. I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Brooks).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Alabama will 
be postponed.


                  Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Engel

  Mr. ENGEL. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used by the Department of Transportation, the Department 
     of Housing and Urban Development, or any other Federal agency 
     to lease or purchase new light duty vehicles for any 
     executive fleet, or for an agency's fleet inventory, except 
     in accordance with Presidential Memorandum--Federal Fleet 
     Performance, dated May 24, 2011.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from New York and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. ENGEL. Madam Chair, on May 24, 2011, President Obama issued a 
memorandum on Federal fleet performance that required all new light-
duty vehicles in the Federal fleet to be alternative fuel vehicles, 
such as hybrid, electric, natural gas, or biofuel, by December 31, 
2015.
  My amendment echoes the President's memorandum by prohibiting funds 
in this act from being used to lease or purchase new light-duty 
vehicles unless that purchase is made in accord with the President's 
memorandum.
  I have submitted identical amendments to 17 different appropriations 
bills over the past few years, and every time they have been accepted 
by both the majority and the minority. I hope my amendment will receive 
similar support today.
  Global oil prices are down. We no longer pay $147 per barrel. But 
despite increased production here in the United States, the global 
price of oil is still largely determined by OPEC.
  Spikes in oil prices have profound repercussions for our economy. The 
primary reason is that our cars and trucks run only on petroleum. We 
can change that with alternative technologies that exist today.
  The Federal Government operates the largest fleet of light-duty 
vehicles in America, over 635,000 vehicles. More than 6,000 of these 
vehicles are within the jurisdiction of this bill, being used by the 
Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development.
  When I was in Brazil a few years ago, I saw how they diversified 
their fuel by greatly expanding their use of ethanol. People there can 
drive to a gas station and choose whether to fill their vehicle with 
gasoline or with ethanol and also possible blends as well. They make 
their choice based on cost or whatever criteria they deem important.
  So I want the same choice for America's consumers. That is why I am 
proposing a bill in Congress, as I have done many times in the past, 
which will provide for cars built in America to be able to run on a 
fuel instead of, or in addition to, gasoline. If they can do it in 
Brazil, we can do it here, and it would cost less than $100 per car to 
do.
  So, in conclusion, expanding the role these alternative technologies 
play in our transportation economy will help break the leverage that 
foreign-government-controlled oil companies hold over Americans. It 
will increase our Nation's domestic security and protect consumers.
  I urge that my colleagues support the Engel amendment.
  In conclusion, I would just say that energy policy is something that 
is really important, and we can take a very

[[Page H3977]]

small step tonight to move closer to energy independence and protecting 
the American consumer. I would urge all my colleagues on both sides, as 
they have in the past, to support this bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Hultgren

  Mr. HULTGREN. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___. None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used by the Federal Aviation Administration for the bio-
     data assessment in the hiring of Air Traffic Control 
     Specialists.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Illinois and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois.
  Mr. HULTGREN. Madam Chair, I rise today to offer my amendment, which 
defunds a troubling hiring test put forth by the FAA which has led to 
cheating and questionable hiring practices for air traffic controllers.
  The intent of my amendment is not to slow hiring, but to stop the 
FAA's use of a discredited gatekeeper hiring test.
  I represent more than 270 air traffic controllers in Illinois' 14th 
Congressional District. More than a year ago, the FAA made an 
inexplicable and obscure change to its longstanding hiring practices, 
with few details given about how the changes would be implemented and 
with little advance warning.
  Setting aside its decades-long process by which qualified Collegiate 
Training Initiative students and military veterans were given 
preference in hiring, the FAA implemented a new biographical 
questionnaire, or Bio Q, which contains such questions as, ``How many 
sports did you play in high school?''
  With no way to know what a right answer is, how to improve on the 
test, or what their final score was, many otherwise highly qualified 
applicants failed, after spending countless resources and time training 
to become air traffic controllers.
  The new procedures caused the agency to divert the hiring process 
around highly qualified, CTI-certified trainees and experienced 
veterans, jeopardizing air travel safety in favor of off-the-street 
hires, some of whom have little experience or ambition.
  Since then, the FAA has been under fire following a six-month 
investigation which uncovered that FAA or aviation-related employees 
may have assisted in giving potential air traffic controller recruits 
special access to answers on the Bio Q to help them gain jobs with the 
FAA.
  This cheating is greatly disturbing and jeopardizes any shred of 
credibility of the Bio Q that it had any accurate or fair test to 
determine who should be an air traffic controller.
  Yet, we are now finding out that the cheating may run deeper than 
first reported, possibly with knowledge at the highest levels of the 
FAA.
  If additional FAA or aviation-related employees helped applicants 
cheat on the Bio Q, it is imperative that we expose those responsible 
and determine how widespread and systemic the misconduct is.
  I have urged Congress to compel the FAA to appear before the American 
people to get to the bottom of this troubling discovery. These 
investigations uncover just how discredited the Bio Q is in any hiring 
process.
  But until we get answers to these questions, like who knew about the 
cheating, when did they know about it, and how did they cover it up, we 
cannot let the FAA employ people unfairly using the highly flawed Bio Q 
as a gatekeeper.
  In addition, we still don't know what will happen to those who have 
either failed the Bio Q, aged out of the hiring process, or both.
  Disqualifying highly trained, certified graduates and military 
veterans because they did or did not play sports in high school is 
ridiculous. This amendment would restrict funding for the Bio Q, 
stopping its use by the FAA.
  When you climb into an airliner, you trust the pilot, the crew, and 
the air traffic controllers will keep you safe. I have introduced H.R. 
1964, the Air Traffic Controllers Hiring Act of 2015, to reverse the 
effects of the FAA's policy, restore safety and confidence to air 
travel, and to make sure we have the best and brightest in our control 
towers.
  I have hopes that this legislation can move quickly through the House 
and have urged the Transportation Committee to hold a hearing on the 
bill. Now that Aviation Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo has cosponsored 
the legislation, I am looking forward to the committee's consideration.
  Until then, this amendment will help restore some sanity back to the 
FAA.
  I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Illinois 
(Mr. Lipinski), my good friend and colleague.
  Mr. LIPINSKI. Madam Chair, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for 
his work on this amendment and on the bill.
  As the gentleman said, early last year, the FAA switched course on 
its hiring process by moving from the AT-SAT, which was a tried-and-
true, knowledge-based test, to a bio-data assessment. The change had a 
tremendous impact on the 36 Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative 
schools.
  I have one of the best of these schools in my district, Lewis 
University. Lewis 2 years ago won the Loening Trophy as the best 
aviation program in the Nation.
  Maybe students chose to attend Lewis and these other schools because 
of the advantages that CTI schools provided under the old hiring 
system. They decided at a young age to enroll in a program fostered by 
the FAA and were given the opportunity to excel on the AT-SAT, which 
was unfairly pulled out from under them.
  Madam Chair, this amendment is a step in the right direction towards 
fixing the misguided policy change that had a negative impact on 
students and the universities that invested significant resources in 
training our future generations of air traffic controllers.
  But I need to emphasize that this amendment should not come at the 
cost of slowing down the hiring of air traffic controllers. We have 
already suffered from a hiring and training slowdown and cannot afford 
further delays to staffing an essential safety function of the FAA.
  Our hard-working air traffic controllers are already understaffed, 
and Congress must ensure that we are increasing their ranks quickly and 
with well-trained air traffic controllers.
  Madam Chair, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes.''
  Mr. HULTGREN. I thank my colleague from Illinois, and I would also 
urge my colleagues to support this passage and to make sure that we 
continue to have the safest air traffic control towers in the world.
  Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I very reluctantly, actually, claim 
time in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I actually understand and, frankly, 
listened very intently to the gentleman's concerns, and I actually want 
to work with him to make sure that nothing is used that is absolutely 
arbitrarily, or frankly, totally unfair. And so I think the gentleman's 
concerns are very, very valid.
  At this time, however, and that is why I say ``very reluctantly'' 
have to oppose, because, again, at this moment, I am concerned, hearing 
the other gentleman from Illinois mention the fact that we want to make 
sure that we don't slow down the hiring of the air traffic controllers. 
We need to hire another 1,500 new controllers in 2016.
  So I not only appreciate the gentleman's concerns, but I, in fact, 
potentially could share a lot of his concerns.
  But again, reluctantly at this time, because I am concerned about 
potentially slowing down the hiring of new controllers, I reluctantly 
have to oppose his amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hultgren).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. HULTGREN. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.

[[Page H3978]]

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Illinois 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Meehan

  Mr. MEEHAN. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. 416.  None of the funds made available by this Act for 
     Amtrak capital grants may be used for projects off the 
     Northeast Corridor until the level of capital spending by 
     Amtrak for capital projects on the Northeast Corridor during 
     fiscal year 2016 equals the amount of Amtrak's profits from 
     Northeast Corridor operations during fiscal year 2015.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

                              {time}  2030

  Mr. MEEHAN. Madam Chair, before I begin my comments, I would like to 
thank Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Price for all of their 
diligent work on this bill.
  My amendment seeks to prioritize investment in Amtrak's Northeast 
Corridor, which is its most heavily traveled route, by ensuring that 
operating profits that are earned there stay there.
  Last year, Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line earned nearly $500 
million in operating profit. More than 100,000 Americans get on a train 
that travels along the Northeast Corridor every day, but instead of 
reinvesting those dollars into improvements in the line's 
infrastructure, much of that money was sent across the country, used to 
subsidize money-losing, long-distance Amtrak routes. This has left 
Amtrak's most heavily traveled route less funded, and it has delayed 
needed improvements to Amtrak's only line that actually turns a profit.
  This amendment will fix that. It will ensure that the dollars Amtrak 
earns along the Northeast Corridor are invested into improvements in 
the line's infrastructure. It will make travel along Amtrak's most 
heavily used route safer, and it will also do so without adding to the 
taxpayers' burden.
  This amendment will codify the principle that was passed in the 
Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, and I might add that that was 
approved with more than 300 votes in this House earlier this year. This 
tracks that same principle. And that legislation passed with the 
leadership of my friend and fellow Pennsylvanian, Chairman Bill 
Shuster, which requires that Amtrak direct capital investments into the 
Northeast Corridor, where it is needed most.
  Madam Chair, more than 11 million Americans rode an Amtrak train 
between Boston and Washington last year. Many more used rail lines like 
SEPTA or Metro-North, operating on tracks owned by Amtrak, to get to 
work every day. The tragic derailment in my own area of Philadelphia 
last month has shown that there is a desperate need to improve the line 
and strengthen capital investments in the region.
  This amendment will ensure Amtrak makes smart investment decisions 
and directs capital spending where it is needed most. It will help 
Amtrak tackle the backlog of capital projects that plague the Northeast 
Corridor. It will reduce delays. It will mean safer, more efficient 
travel for millions of Americans who rely on Amtrak's Northeast 
Corridor every year. I urge my colleagues to support it.
  I yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart).
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Chair, there is a lot of work that goes into this bill and 
there is a lot of work that goes into the amendments, but I will tell 
you that the gentleman from Pennsylvania has worked nonstop to find 
real solutions to deal with making sure that Amtrak is safe and, in 
particular, that the Northeast Corridor is as viable and as safe as 
possible. So I just must commend the gentleman for his hard work, for 
the way that he has just worked this issue day in, day out to get to 
the point where we are today.
  Mr. MEEHAN. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I wish to claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I too want to commend my 
colleague for offering this amendment. I understand his intent. There 
are significant capital needs on the busy Northeast Corridor. It is 
Amtrak's busiest and most successful corridor. It is a fundamental flaw 
of this bill that we are unable to provide for the kind of investments 
that the service in that corridor warrants and, indeed, that the 
service of Amtrak nationwide warrants.
  But the effect of this amendment, I fear, in the environment of 
inadequate investment, this would provide a much-needed boost in 
investment in the Northeast Corridor. It may be still not enough, but 
it would do so at the expense of the rest of the Amtrak network, and 
that should give us pause when we consider this amendment.
  The amendment would require Amtrak to spend at least $1.2 billion--
the annual amount of Northeast Corridor revenues--on Northeast Corridor 
capital projects before they could spend any of their Federal capital 
funding elsewhere. This would have the effect of halting all capital 
projects that are not on the Northeast Corridor, including all 
information technology, upgraded safety technology, until very late in 
the fiscal year at the earliest, and possibly longer, should projects 
on the Northeast Corridor not be ready to advance. This would also 
hinder Amtrak's ability to manage State and long-distance service.
  I know that all of these consequences are probably not my colleague's 
intent, but it does demonstrate the types of consequences that we need 
to consider when making such a policy change. I ask colleagues to vote 
against this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Madam Chair, before I close my comments, I think it is 
important to recognize that the same principle has already been adopted 
by 318 Members of this body, including a near unanimous vote by my 
colleague from the other side of the aisle, his colleagues on that side 
of the aisle.
  I will also say that I am not sure that the gentleman understands the 
actual effect of the bill. It simply is to reinvest the profits that 
are made on the Northeast Corridor. These are being made by the 
investments that are being made by the taxpaying people who are 
purchasing those tickets. We can still look for ways to fund other 
parts of the system around the country where they can earn their 
investments on merit.
  We are asking, in light of the fact that this is a line which is so 
heavily used, the priorities be placed where they are most needed.
  Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Meehan).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
will be postponed.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Newhouse

  Mr. NEWHOUSE. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to issue, implement, or enforce the proposed 
     regulation by the Federal Aviation Administration entitled 
     ``Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft 
     Systems'' (FAA-2015-0150) without consideration of the use of 
     small unmanned aircraft systems for agricultural operations, 
     as defined in 14 CFR 21.25(b)(1).

  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chairwoman, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. 
Newhouse) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

[[Page H3979]]

  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.
  Mr. NEWHOUSE. Madam Chair, I rise today to introduce an amendment on 
an important topic that will undoubtedly have a growing impact not just 
on our Nation's agricultural sector, but on our economy as a whole.
  The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, has enormous 
possibilities for our economy, whether it is providing cost-effective 
means to deliver packages, photographing housing for Realtors, 
broadcasting sports games, assisting law enforcement with tracking 
criminals, or providing mobile WiFi hubs for Internet access. However, 
one vastly underconsidered outcome for UAV technology is that it could 
potentially transform our Nation's agricultural sector.
  Ideas have been considered using UAVs to survey cropland, to 
determine property lines, or to help plan for planting, spraying, 
watering, or harvesting of crops; however, the potential applications 
are even greater. Depending on how this technology evolves, UAVs may be 
equipped with special cameras to determine if crops are dry and need 
extra water and where and how much should be applied. They may also be 
used to apply pesticides or fertilizers with precision to ensure that 
too little or too much isn't being used. And depending on their 
sophistication, someday, UAVs may even be used to harvest the food we 
grow.
  The potential applications don't just stop there, though. In my 
district last year, we experienced the worst forest fire in Washington 
State history, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres. In the future, 
first responders, the Forest Service, and other stakeholders may be 
able to use UAVs to monitor the spread of fire to get people out of 
harm's way or to better predict where to best apply water and fire 
retardants. They could even help with identifying dry or overgrown 
areas in advance to help stakeholders know where treatment is needed, 
which could prevent fires in the first place.
  Madam Chair, I appreciate the steps the FAA has taken in releasing 
draft rules regarding UAVs and that the FAA has been more agreeable in 
allowing testing of UAVs for commercial purposes.
  While I understand that safety and privacy are enormous concerns 
being considered by the FAA, it is also important that we do not fall 
behind other nations in utilizing this technology, which are currently 
developing and innovating in this industry more rapidly than we are 
here in the United States.
  Madam Chair, my amendment today is simple. It merely limits FAA's 
rulemaking on UAVs if the rules do not take into consideration 
agricultural applications of UAVs in the rulemaking process.
  I appreciate the work the FAA is doing on this matter, and I hope the 
final rules that are expected later this year generously allow for the 
safe testing and commercial use of UAVs, ensuring the amazing 
agricultural prospects for these technologies are well considered in 
the process.
  Madam Chair, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Washington?
  There was no objection.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Newhouse

  Mr. NEWHOUSE. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___. None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to issue, implement, or enforce regulations by the 
     Federal Aviation Administration entitled ``operations and 
     certification of small unmanned aircraft systems'' (FAA-2015-
     0150) in contravention to 14 CFR 21.25(b)(1).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Washington and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.
  Mr. NEWHOUSE. Madam Chair, in my previous comments, I addressed this 
amendment, which is in order, and I would just submit those comments to 
be used for this particular amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Newhouse).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Garrett

  Mr. GARRETT. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to implement, administer, or enforce the final rule 
     entitled ``Implementation of the Fair Housing Act's 
     Discriminatory Effects Standard'', published by the 
     Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Federal 
     Register on February 15, 2013 (78 Fed. Reg. 11460; Docket No. 
     FR-5508-F-02).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from New Jersey and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.

                              {time}  2045

  Mr. GARRETT. Madam Chair, I rise today, as I have done in the past, 
to offer an amendment that attempts to restore some sanity, fairness, 
and certainty to our housing market. My amendment would undo harmful 
economic actions taken by the administration that weaken credit 
availability and job creation. You see, the Department's final rule 
implementing the Fair Housing Act's discriminatory effects standard 
establishes regulations promoting the use of a legal theory known as 
disparate impact.
  What is disparate impact? Disparate impact liability allows the 
government to allege discrimination on the basis of race or other 
factors based solely on statistical analyses that find disproportionate 
results among different groups of people and--get this--regardless of 
any evidence of any actual discriminatory actions or intent. Let me 
point that out again--regardless of any evidence of actual 
discrimination.
  If, for example, a mortgage lender uses a completely 
nondiscriminatory standard to assess credit risk, such as maybe a debt-
to-income ratio, they can still be found to have discriminated if the 
data shows different loan approval rates for different groups of 
consumers.
  So real and actual discrimination must be prosecuted to the fullest 
extent of the law. I think that is something everyone here can agree 
on. But under the example that I just laid out, that lender could even 
have specific antidiscriminatory practices in play, in other words, he 
would have rules in his business in place, but still be found liable 
under this theory.
  Predictably, by creating a presumption of discrimination, this rule 
will result in a perverse regulatory scheme where lenders, insurers, 
and landlords would effectively be required to intentionally 
discriminate among different classes of borrowers. Why? Just to protect 
themselves from becoming entangled in the regulatory pretzel-like logic 
of this administration.
  So if we specifically consider the examples of homeowner insurance 
commonly considered factors, including an applicant's claim history, 
construction material, the presence or absence of a security system, 
the distance to the firehouse, well, they could be barred if they were 
found to result in creating a statistical disparity for a class defined 
by race or ethnicity or gender.
  You see, sound risk-based lending insurance underwriting and pricing 
that unintentionally results in a statistical disparate outcome, that 
is not discrimination; rather, accurate risk identification and 
classification is absolutely essential to the lending of insurance 
businesses.
  In addition to being unfair and unwise, the HUD rule is also 
unnecessary. Why? Because protected class characteristics are already 
prohibited from consideration in the risk assessment process.
  You see, State law already prohibits insurers from recording race, 
for example. The HUD rule requiring race considerations there turns on 
its head and violates these laws. You see, all 50 States in this 
country have antidiscriminatory provisions in their housing insurance 
regulations, and there is no claim that these have been insufficient. 
The Federal Government, therefore, should be encouraging sound business 
practices, not punishing them to utilize them.

[[Page H3980]]

  We have seen what risky lending practices can do to our economy 
already. Although I believe the Supreme Court will strike down 
disparate impact theory, we should do all we can in our power to rein 
in an administration policy that will increase the cost and undermine 
the availability of credit throughout the economy.
  Now, to this Chamber's credit, let me point out, this House recently 
passed my amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill 
that would prevent the DOJ from using this very same theory.
  I hope that we will continue to take a stand against this flawed 
logic and theory and promote sound business practices.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I wish to claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I rise in opposition to this amendment. 
It would nullify a critical enforcement tool that has been used, for 
example, to rule against discrimination and racially discriminatory 
zoning requirements, practices that exclude families with children from 
housing, discrimination by lenders, zoning requirements that 
discriminate against group homes housing individuals with disabilities. 
It is a critical enforcement tool, and it would be a very, very bad 
mistake to pass this amendment.
  I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Maxine 
Waters), the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee.
  Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Madam Chair, I rise in strong 
opposition to this amendment. I am very surprised that this amendment 
is being brought by my friend, Mr. Garrett.
  Mr. Garrett's amendment seeks to empower HUD's efforts in enforcing 
the Fair Housing Act in such a way that relies on the disparate impact 
doctrine. It weakens our ability to protect Americans from 
discriminatory policies that deny them access to quality housing, 
quality neighborhood schools, and other resources.
  The disparate impact doctrine is a very effective legal tool that has 
been used for decades to address seemingly neutral policies that have 
the effect of discriminating against protected classes.
  The disparate impact doctrine provides legal redress for victims of 
hidden discrimination. It ensures that women cannot be evicted from 
their apartments solely because they were victims of domestic violence, 
and it ensures that veterans with disabilities are not barred from 
living in certain places solely because of the lack of accommodations 
for their disability. This amendment ignores the realities of harmful 
discrimination in our Nation today, and it would eliminate well-
established, decades-old protections for American families.
  I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Al Green), another outstanding Financial Services member.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Madam Chair, this amendment would absolutely, 
totally, and completely allow discrimination against our veterans. If 
you are a veteran and you need a service animal and if there is an area 
that is set aside with no pets allowed, that service animal can become 
a pet. We cannot allow veterans to be discriminated against.
  With reference to this amendment being a theory, all 11 circuit 
courts have upheld it. It is not a theory. It is a standard. It is a 
standard that the courts adhere to, and it is a standard we ought not 
abrogate. We must continue.
  I am absolutely, totally, and completely opposed to this amendment, 
and I beg that my colleagues would go on record as being opposed to it 
as well.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I yield to the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Diaz-Balart).
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I am wary of considering an amendment 
on a rule and regulation that is currently pending before the Supreme 
Court. The sponsor of the amendment is a good man, but I would hope 
that we would wait for the Court to issue its ruling and then the 
committee of jurisdiction can properly debate and consider what, if 
any, legislative action should be taken. For those reasons, I urge a 
``no'' vote on this amendment.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I yield the balance of my time to the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison).
  Mr. ELLISON. I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time, and I 
strenuously urge all Members to vote ``no'' on this particular 
amendment.
  The fact is that residential segregation in this country has limited 
opportunities for people for so many years. And I don't mean 
segregation just in terms of race--people who are excluded because of 
race, because of gender, because of all types of reasons.
  If we say that disparate impact has no place, then we will be 
precluded from looking into how disparity just causes people to have 
different chances to live the American Dream. We will be consigned to 
having to find a smoking gun or intent before we can take action to try 
to make this country fairer and more open.
  This is a very bad amendment, and I urge all Members to vote ``no.''
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. GARRETT. Madam Chair, how much time remains?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New Jersey has 1 minute 
remaining.
  Mr. GARRETT. The gentleman said, ``The fact is.'' Well, everything we 
have heard for the last 5 minutes as the facts has absolutely nothing 
to do with this bill. This bill has nothing to do with vets and service 
animals. This bill has nothing to do with domestic violence and women 
not being able to be in the house. This has nothing to do with any of 
the weakening of State standards whatsoever.
  This bill basically simply says that, if a lender to you says that 
you live in a wooden house versus a stone house, there might be 
different rates for your insurance. It says that, if your house is 
miles from a fire department and your house is right next to the 
firehouse, there might be different rates for the insurance and the 
mortgages and the loans you get on that house. Those are not 
discriminatory practices. Those are reasonable practices that 
businesses enter into. It has nothing to do with all of the examples 
just given.
  This bill says we should continue to go after and prosecute when 
there is evidence of discrimination and intentional discrimination. 
This bill will not end that. This bill will not end your ability to 
look into the examples the last gentleman just raised. It would simply 
say that businesses should be allowed to use standard rationales in 
their risk analysis, whether it is debt-to-income ratio or construction 
materials and the like.
  For those reasons, along with the other reasons I have already said 
and the host of organizations that support this legislation, and that 
this House just passed last week on the CJS bill, we should do so again 
tonight.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. GARRETT. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Ellison

  Mr. ELLISON. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may 
     be used to enter into a contract with any person whose 
     disclosures of a proceeding with a disposition listed in 
     section 2313(c)(1) of title 41, United States Code, in the 
     Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System 
     include the term ``Fair Labor Standards Act'' and such 
     disposition is listed as ``willful'' or ``repeated''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Minnesota and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

[[Page H3981]]

  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. ELLISON. Madam Chair, this amendment simply says that the United 
States Government should not give appropriations and pay contracts for 
people or companies who have been found to have willful or repeated 
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In other words, if you have 
repeatedly and willfully stolen the wages of workers and you have a 
Federal contract, then you are not the kind of contractor who the 
American people, through the U.S. Congress, want to do business with.
  No hard-working American should ever have to worry that her employer 
will refuse to pay her when she works overtime or take money out of her 
paycheck, especially if she works for a Federal contractor. The 
practice is known as wage theft. Right now, Federal contractors who 
violate the Fair Labor Standards Act are still allowed to apply for 
Federal contracts.
  This amendment, which my colleagues from the Progressive Caucus join 
me in, will ensure that funds may not be used to enter into a contract 
with a government contractor that willfully or repeatedly violates the 
Fair Labor Standards Act. The amendment ensures that those in violation 
of the law do not get taxpayer support and should not get the rewards 
that other good contractors receive.
  It is important to point out to Members contemplating this amendment 
that, if you are a contractor who pays your workers on time, who does 
what you are supposed to do, who has avoided willful violations and 
repeated violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, you should not, as 
a good contractor, have to compete with somebody who gets a competitive 
advantage by stealing the pay of their workers. We should have good 
contractors competing for contracts, not contractors who make willful, 
repeated violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  This amendment relies upon violations reported to the Federal Awardee 
Performance and Integrity Information System.

                              {time}  2100

  That system looks back 5 years to review criminal, civil, or 
administrative agency actions which have a final disposition.
  This amendment differs from previous amendments that I have offered 
similar to it because it targets actors who willfully or repeatedly 
engage in wage theft. The amendment would ensure that a single 
inadvertent violation would not disqualify a contractor, but it would 
show clearly that someone who had made repeated and willful violations 
would not be able to benefit from the contract.
  I urge Members to vote in favor of this particular amendment because 
a penny worked for and a penny earned must be a penny paid; 
particularly when that penny is derived from a company with a Federal 
contract, we have a right to believe that we are going to be treated in 
an honest way.
  I yield to the gentleman from North Carolina.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I want to commend my friend 
from Minnesota for offering this amendment. Every worker is entitled to 
receive pay, fair pay, for the hours they work. We know, unfortunately, 
there are employers, as the gentleman has stated, who refuse to pay for 
overtime, who make their employees work off the clock, who refuse to 
pay the minimum wage. These things go on.
  The least we can do is take steps to ensure that those employers 
don't receive new Federal contracts. That is what the gentleman's 
amendment does. I commend him for offering it and urge colleagues to 
support him.
  Mr. ELLISON. Madam Chair, how much time do I have remaining?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Minnesota has 1\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. ELLISON. Madam Chair, I want to thank the gentleman for the 
support for this amendment.
  Let me just point out a few things for Members contemplating this 
amendment.
  An important think tank looked at this question and found that in 
total, the average low-wage worker loses a stunning $2,600 a year in 
unpaid wages, representing about 15 percent of their earned income.
  One thing that I believe Democrats and Republicans can agree on is 
that, if you break your back on the job all day long trying to earn a 
living and you don't get paid what you are supposed to get paid and 
your check is light, we all have to agree that that is wrong.
  I expect to have an all green board up there because to do otherwise 
would say that you want to stand on the side of the wage thieves, the 
ones who are willfully and repeatedly making violations of the Fair 
Labor Standards Act.
  I think that, as the United States Congress, we should stand together 
and say a penny worked is a penny that is going to be paid, and we are 
going to insist upon it.
  Finally, I just want to say that breaking the law is a bipartisan 
problem. Nobody can stand with the contractors who do this. It is one 
thing to underpay your workers in a way that is consistent with the law 
by paying them the Federal minimum wage rate--I want to raise it; we 
may not agree on that--but for sure, we have got to agree that, for 
people who work for Federal contractors, we have got to insist that the 
contractors who pay these workers even less than they have earned 
should not benefit from a Federal contract.
  To help the workers, we have to do this, and to help the honest 
Federal contractors, we have to do this.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I claim the time in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, the gentleman's amendment is obviously 
very well intentioned.
  However, the amendment, as drafted, is so broad that, for example, a 
contractor could be excluded for something as minor as failing to 
display a poster in a break room. Again, it is well intentioned.
  We have to remember something. We fund a lot of contracts in this 
bill, everything from phone service to the computer systems that ensure 
an orderly and efficient air space. Potentially, this amendment could 
eliminate a number of those transportation-industry-dependent 
contracts.
  Nobody wants to allow for lawbreaking; but, because it is so broadly 
drafted, the unintended consequences, I think, that folks could be 
caught in this are a lot more than I think many folks understand.
  Again, though it is a well-intentioned amendment, I would urge a 
``no'' vote on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. ELLISON. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota 
will be postponed.


           Amendment No. 28 Offered by Mr. Emmer of Minnesota

  Mr. EMMER of Minnesota. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     used to carry out any enrichment as defined in Appendix A to 
     part 611 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, for any 
     New Start grant request.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Minnesota and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. EMMER of Minnesota. Madam Chair, I rise to address an issue that 
is playing a role in crippling America's transportation system by 
driving our deficits and exacerbating the need for bailouts of the 
highway trust fund. As we debate how to fund transportation, one of the 
most vital functions of government, this body is being forced to make 
hard choices.
  I want to thank Chairman Diaz-Balart, the ranking member, and the 
members of the subcommittee for their

[[Page H3982]]

work on bringing this appropriations bill to the floor. Their work is 
definitely appreciated by me and my constituents. That said, it is 
inconceivable to me that, as we kick the can on a long-term 
transportation authorization bill, we continue to allow frivolous 
spending on transit projects.
  As important as New Starts transit projects are to my State and my 
district, one would think that every last available dollar would go 
towards ensuring transit New Starts have the funding needed to make a 
line operational and as cost effective as possible.
  Madam Chair, that is not what is happening. Within Federal grant 
applications, extras are being included that can dramatically raise the 
cost of transit New Starts.
  Excessive enrichments such as artwork, landscaping, and bicycle and 
pedestrian improvements such as sidewalks, paths, plazas, site and 
station furniture, site lighting, signage, public artwork, bike 
facilities, and permanent fencing are included in the overall grant 
application.
  Even more shocking is that the Federal Transit Administration doesn't 
include these extra costs into the cost-effective measurements for the 
overall cost of the project which serves to deceive taxpayers and 
Congress as to the project's real price tag.
  Madam Chair, in my district alone, I have cities that have placed a 
moratorium on new business development due to severe transportation 
issues. It is insane to me and my constituents that we blindly spend 
money on the niceties rather than prioritize funds for the necessities.
  There are numerous reasons that our Federal highway trust fund 
continues to run deficits and we will continue to have that debate; but 
one place that we can agree, certainly, is that Federal taxpayers 
should absolutely not be paying for things like artwork, furniture, 
lighting, and bike racks while transportation projects remain 
unfinished across America.
  I understand the need and desire for transit projects--I have them in 
my district--which is why I have offered this amendment. We should make 
funds available to ensure more Federal dollars go to what the hard-
working taxpayers who fund these accounts expect, transit projects, 
rather than expensive add-ons that are driving deficits in our transit 
accounts.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, in considering this 
amendment, it is important to be very clear about what the amendment 
means when it refers to enrichments.
  This refers to improvements to a transit project like a sidewalk, 
paths, plazas, lighting, and signage, things that can help individuals 
in utilizing transportation infrastructure and ensure that they do so 
in safety.
  Unfortunately, Madam Chair, there are approximately 4,000 pedestrian 
deaths, comprising 14 percent of overall traffic fatalities each year. 
These enrichments are just the kinds of projects that could help reduce 
the risk for pedestrians, for bicyclers, and other users of our 
systems.
  Now, the gentleman offering this amendment is just bordering on 
ridicule when he talks about site lighting. Really, site lighting? What 
is more important to promoting safety, promoting visibility, and 
discouraging those who would prey on individuals than site lighting?
  Site lighting is extremely important in improving general safety in 
public places. It is incredibly important for protecting individuals 
against crime, including harassment and assault. That is what we are 
talking about here.
  Now, the amount of funding that goes towards such enrichments is 
small relative to other expenditures, but it is a commonsense way that 
we can enhance our transportation projects, we can broaden their use, 
and, above all, we can ensure that they are safe for all users.
  It is an unwise amendment, Madam Chair, and I urge its rejection.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. EMMER of Minnesota. Madam Chair, how much time do I have 
remaining?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman has 2 minutes remaining.
  Mr. EMMER of Minnesota. Thank you, Madam Chair.
  I have the utmost respect for my colleague from North Carolina, but 
he actually makes the argument for the amendment as opposed to opposed 
to it.
  Yes, it reduces risk for bicyclists and pedestrians when you talk 
about signage, when you talk about certain lighting, when you talk 
about certain enhancements that are add-ons to the project that the 
Federal Government and the Federal taxpayer dollars are intended to 
fund.
  The Federal taxpayer dollars should be going to the transit project 
that it is intended for, instead of all the extras. The local 
authorities should be responsible for those.
  Madam Chair, I urge my colleagues to support the amendment. It is a 
clear-cut amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Emmer).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota 
will be postponed.


                     Amendment Offered by Ms. Bass

  Ms. BASS. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the spending reduction 
     account), insert the following:
       Sec. ____.  None of the funds made available by this Act 
     may be used by the Federal Transit Administration to 
     implement, administer, or enforce section 18.36(c)(2) of 
     title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, for construction 
     hiring purposes.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentlewoman 
from California and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. BASS. Madam Chair, as the economy continues to recover, 8.5 
million Americans are still unemployed. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of 
local transportation agencies to spur job creation in their local 
communities is unnecessarily obstructed by restrictive Department of 
Transportation policies.
  Limiting the ability of local officials to contribute to targeted job 
growth is detrimental to local economies across the United States, 
especially in communities where many remain jobless.
  Local hiring and procurement policies have helped to provide quality 
job opportunities to residents in communities hardest hit by the 
economic downturn.
  My local hire amendment is designed to help spur local job creation 
through federally funded transportation projects nationally.
  My amendment would prevent the Department of Transportation from 
issuing regulations that prevent local hiring. Specifically, it would 
limit the regulations and burdens placed on local governmental 
agencies, preserve the competition and cost-effectiveness mandates in 
our current rules that govern Federal transit grants, and give local 
transportation agencies the necessary flexibility to apply 
geographically targeted preferences when making hiring decisions for 
federally funded transit and highway projects.
  It is important to note that this local hire amendment does not 
require transportation agencies to implement local hiring policies. It 
simply gives local leaders the opportunity to do so if they determine 
it is in the best interest of their communities.
  Madam Chair, I urge my colleagues to support this important 
amendment. It will reduce burdensome regulations and spur local job 
creation.
  I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  2115

  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Bass).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Zeldin

  Mr. ZELDIN. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

[[Page H3983]]

  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, (before the short title), insert 
     the following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation 
     Administration to institute an administrative or civil action 
     (as defined in section 47107 of title 49, United States Code) 
     against the sponsor of the East Hampton Airport in East 
     Hampton, NY.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from New York and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. ZELDIN. Madam Chair, I am proud to represent a district that is 
home to some of the most scenic destinations in the country, and all 
forms of transportation are part of our tourism economy. Yet, with the 
high season upon us, many of my constituents are finding themselves 
bewildered by actions of the FAA. Federal agencies ought to stand by 
their word and keep their commitments to Members of Congress and to the 
citizens we represent.
  In 2012, the FAA made assurances to my predecessor that, in light of 
a 2005 court settlement between the FAA and a community group, the town 
of East Hampton, New York, would not be subject to certain regulations 
after December 31, 2014, when certain grant assurances expired and, 
thus, could adopt restrictions on the use of their airport without FAA 
approval.
  The FAA has written that the town can proceed on certain course and 
not fear FAA reprisal for their actions. Earlier this spring, the 
democratically elected town board passed a set of airport regulations--
all predicated on the FAA's written assurance to not take negative 
action against the town. Recently, however, the FAA has started 
wavering.
  I am offering this amendment, which is 100 percent consistent with 
the prior written assurance made by the FAA. This amendment will hold 
the FAA to its word on this critical local issue, a local issue that 
should have a local solution--bring all sides to the table to improve 
the quality of life on the East End this high season.
  Madam Chair, I urge all of my colleagues to support this effort. The 
people of the East End communities across Long Island and around 
America deserve straight answers and follow-through from government 
agencies.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I do this, though, simply 
to express some concerns about this amendment and others like it that 
we have heard over the course of this debate.
  I do have some concerns about limiting flight path options for the 
FAA in a piecemeal fashion from the floor of the House. The FAA needs 
to have appropriate flexibility to use flight paths in the wisest ways, 
particularly if there are safety risks for incoming or outgoing 
aircraft. I do think, however, that the FAA needs to take note and be 
more responsive to the concerns that have been raised in these 
limitation amendments, and there have been several this evening and in 
the prior days of this debate.
  I also want to observe that the FAA's authorization expires at the 
end of the fiscal year. Now, as I mentioned in the debate last week, 
our colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are 
exploring options to reform the FAA, including separating the FAA from 
the Department of Transportation, allowing it more independence over 
the use of its resources.
  I would say this is an important time to encourage caution, to 
encourage our colleagues to think very carefully about a more 
independent FAA, one that does not have to rely on annual 
appropriations. Would it be as attentive to concerns such as those 
raised by communities and by our colleagues here tonight? We ought to 
move very cautiously in this area.
  I strongly urge the FAA Administrator, in observing this parade of 
limitation amendments, to take note to ensure that the FAA is more 
attentive to the concerns that are raised by communities when 
developing their new flight procedures.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ZELDIN. Madam Chair, I thank the gentleman from North Carolina 
for his comments. Certainly, concerns within the First Congressional 
District of New York are the reason this amendment is being offered. I 
strongly urge my colleagues to support this important amendment so as 
to ensure that these local issues have local control.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Lewis

  Mr. LEWIS. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Page 156, after line 15, insert the following new section:
       Sec. 416.  Notwithstanding Mortgagee Letter 2015-12 of the 
     Department of Housing and Urban Development (dated April 30, 
     2015) or any other provision of law, the Secretary of Housing 
     and Urban Development shall--
       (1) implement the Mortgagee Optional Election (MOE) 
     Assignment for home equity conversion mortgages (as set forth 
     in Mortgagee Letter 2015-03, dated January 29, 2015), 
     allowing additional flexibility for non-borrowing spouses to 
     meet its requirements; and
       (2) provide for a 5-year delay in foreclosure in the case 
     of any other home equity conversion mortgage that--
       (A) has an FHA Case Number assigned before August, 4, 2014; 
     and
       (B) has a last surviving borrower who has died and who has 
     a non-borrowing surviving spouse who does not qualify for the 
     Mortgagee Optional Election and who, but for the death of 
     such borrowing spouse, would be able to remain in the 
     dwelling subject to the mortgage.

  Mr. LEWIS (during the reading). Madam Chair, I ask unanimous consent 
to dispense with the reading.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Georgia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I reserve a point of order on the 
gentleman's amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida reserves a point of 
order.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman from Georgia and a 
Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.
  Mr. LEWIS. Madam Chair, I rise today to offer an amendment to H.R. 
2577.
  When I was first elected in 1987, Congress created the first 
nationwide Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. Also known as 
reverse mortgages, these loans differ from traditional mortgages and 
have very good intentions. They are designed to help seniors stay in 
their homes by using the values of their properties as a means for 
living more stable and independent lives. Since the borrowers must be 
62 years of age or older, lenders often advise some borrowers to remove 
younger spouses from the titles. This allows them to be eligible for 
the program or to qualify for greater loans. Unfortunately, Madam 
Chair, many seniors are experiencing challenges in the program's actual 
operation.
  For example, a citizen in my district, Mrs. Helen Griffin, reached 
out to my office last year. She and her husband took out a reverse 
mortgage on their home. In order to qualify, she agreed to be taken off 
the title. The lender promised that she could be added back on the 
title at a later date if they refinanced. Unfortunately, she and her 
husband had no idea how expensive refinancing would be. Like so many 
others, Mrs. Griffin was now in a dangerous financial situation. Upon 
the reverse mortgage borrower's death, a surviving spouse is required 
to pay the full balance due on the loan--or 95 percent of the value of 
the property--simply to remain in their home.
  My amendment would protect people like Mrs. Griffin and allow them 
more time to protect themselves from foreclosure. I think we must do 
everything in our power to inform and protect unknowing senior couples 
from the danger of not only losing their loved ones but also their nest 
eggs.
  Madam Chair, I want to thank the gentleman from Florida and his staff 
for working so hard on this legislation and for making a commitment to 
this issue. I look forward to continuing to work with the gentleman to 
make sure that we do all that we can to realize

[[Page H3984]]

the full goal of this important program.
  Madam Chair, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Georgia?
  There was no objection.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Denham

  Mr. DENHAM. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:
       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. ___.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used for high-speed rail in the State of California or for 
     the California High-Speed Rail Authority, nor may any be used 
     by the Federal Railroad Administration to administer a grant 
     agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority that 
     contains a tapered matching requirement.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from California and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. DENHAM. Madam Chair, once again, I am here one more year, 
offering another amendment to end this incredible waste of taxpayer 
dollars.
  I have been clear about my position on high-speed rail. High-speed 
rail has a future in the United States. It just can't be done as it is 
being done in California--$70 billion over budget and completely 
changed from the proposition that the voters originally voted on. If 
the Governor and the Obama administration are committed to bringing 
this high-speed rail to fruition, then it should go back before the 
voters and actually uphold the will of the voters.
  This is a case study. If you want to get it wrong, if you want to end 
high-speed rail across the Nation, then go ahead and continue to waste 
dollars in California on a project that continues to have many 
different flaws. This authority in California is not only demolishing 
homes, but it is demolishing businesses. The only way they can continue 
to get right-of-way is through eminent domain--slashing farms, tearing 
down businesses, and now kicking people out of their homes.
  Today, it was announced that, instead of ending the initial 
construction segment in the outskirts of Bakersfield, the rail work 
will now stop just north of Shafter--a full 8 miles of what the 
original segment was--with still no operating segment that will allow 
people to travel from one end of the State to the other or even from 
one end of the valley to the other. Currently, if you ride Amtrak from 
north to south, you have to get off in Bakersfield, get on a bus, go 
over the mountains, and take that bus until it hits rail in the LA 
area. Now we are going to have a bus in Shafter. This just doesn't make 
any sense. They continue to change over and over again.
  In the wake of Amtrak accident 188 and with the incredible focus on 
safety that is necessary to pass PTC across the country, why wouldn't 
we take high-speed rail dollars and actually fix the safety 
improvements that need to be done in California? Where is the 
commitment to safety? Let's fix the positive train control and make 
sure that our trains in California are safe, and let's end this project 
that continues to waste taxpayer dollars.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, this amendment is a new 
twist on an amendment that the gentleman from California has been 
offering over the last few years. The net result, however, is the same. 
It would stop the development of California high-speed rail in its 
tracks, so to speak.
  The amendment would prevent the Federal Railroad Administration from 
administering the funding that California received under the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This would have the effect of preventing 
the FRA staff from providing routine project delivery oversight or 
invoicing on all of the environmental work funded under the grant 
agreement.
  Do we want the Federal Government to conduct oversight on the 
projects that receive Federal funding?
  Furthermore, with the Recovery Act funds set to expire at the end of 
fiscal year 2017, the amendment would make it virtually impossible for 
the California High-Speed Rail Authority to spend all of its funding by 
the deadline. It would put the completion of the project in grave 
jeopardy. In January, Governor Brown and other California leaders came 
together to mark the commencement of construction for California's 
high-speed rail project. The project is expected to create 20,000 jobs 
per year.
  I include for the Record two letters--one from industry and one from 
labor groups. Both support the California high-speed rail project.
                                                     May 12, 2015.
     Hon. Mario Diaz-Balart,
     Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related 
         Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of 
         Representatives, Washington DC.
     Hon. David E. Price,
     Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and 
         Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of 
         Representatives, Washington DC.
       We are writing to voice our strong support for public works 
     investment, including recent efforts to develop, construct 
     and deliver high-speed intercity passenger rail service for 
     the first time in American history. Specifically, we oppose 
     the inclusion of harmful riders in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 
     Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related 
     Agencies Appropriations Act that would target or impede 
     efforts to construct any specific high-speed rail projects, 
     including the California High-Speed Rail program.
       American public works infrastructure is at an inflection 
     point, and this will be a pivotal year as the U.S. Congress 
     deliberates Federal highway, transit, rail and aviation 
     policy bills, and debates how to fund Federal transportation 
     programs that will meet our Nation's future mobility needs. 
     Meanwhile, the State of California, in partnership with the 
     Federal government, has made significant investments in 
     intercity high-speed passenger rail. In January, the 
     California High-Speed Rail Authority (the Authority) hosted a 
     ``Groundbreaking Ceremony'' for the California High-Speed 
     Rail program to mark the commencement of sustained 
     construction, which will accelerate this year and create 
     20,000 jobs annually for the next five years. Additionally, 
     the bids on the Authority's first two construction contracts, 
     valued at almost $2.2 billion, came in significantly under 
     budget.
       To date, the State of California has committed the majority 
     of the funding that has been committed to build the program's 
     initial operating section. And last year, the Authority 
     secured the ongoing appropriation of 25 percent of all future 
     California State Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund auction 
     proceeds for the high-speed rail program--a dedicated revenue 
     stream capable of producing hundreds of millions of dollars 
     annually for direct funding or financing. The private sector 
     is now also exhibiting a great deal of interest in investing 
     in the program.
       We believe that America is a country with bold vision that 
     does big things, and we believe that robust investment in 
     infrastructure benefits our industry and the American public. 
     Congressional efforts to impede new public works projects in 
     any one state send the wrong message to local, state and 
     private sector investors in every state who are willing to 
     invest in sorely needed new infrastructure projects in any 
     mode of transportation.
       Moreover, the California High-Speed Rail program represents 
     the first ever effort to build an intercity high-speed 
     passenger rail system in this country. California is at the 
     forefront of developing an entirely new American industry 
     where investments in and the development of new technologies, 
     manufacturing capabilities, and innovative business practices 
     will create high-skilled, good paying jobs and benefit 
     American public works for decades. The Authority is also 
     operating under a Community Benefits Agreement with skilled 
     building trades and contractors to promote training and 
     apprenticeship programs and provide opportunities for 
     disadvantaged workers. Halting or impeding this seminal 
     program at its outset will set our industry back and 
     jeopardize thousands of new middle-class jobs.
       We believe that the California High-Speed Rail program may 
     serve as model of a Federal, state, industry and labor 
     partnership that creates jobs, links economies and 
     communities, preserves our environment and builds a 
     sustainable future. Therefore, we respectfully oppose the 
     inclusion of harmful riders in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 
     Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related 
     Agencies Appropriations Act that would target or impede 
     efforts to construct any specific high-speed rail project, 
     including the California High-Speed Rail program.
         American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of 
           Electrical Workers; Brotherhood of Railway Signalmen; 
           International Association of Machinists and Aerospace 
           Workers; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; 
           International Union of Operating Engineers; North 
           America's Building Trades Unions; SMART Transportation 
           Division; State Building and Construction Trades 
           Council of California; Transportation Communications 
           International

[[Page H3985]]

           Union; Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; 
           Transport Workers Union International; UNITE HERE!
                                  ____

                                                     June 1, 2015.
     Hon. Susan Collins, Chair,
     Hon. Jack Reed, Ranking Member,
     Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies, 
         Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, Washington DC.
       Dear Senators Collins and Reed: As you prepare to consider 
     the Senate's version of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 ``THUD'' 
     appropriations bill, we are writing to ask you to avoid using 
     the measure to set up roadblocks to transportation 
     investment. Specifically, we wanted to make you aware of 
     policy language contained in the House version of the FY 2016 
     THUD bill that seeks to block federal approvals for the 
     California high speed rail program.
       In January, Governor Jerry Brown and other California 
     leaders commemorated the beginning of construction on the 
     nation's largest infrastructure project: a high-speed 
     railroad connecting Southern and Northern California through 
     the Central Valley. This program, in which the state will be 
     the primary funder, will bring together public and private 
     funds to create a transformative investment for California 
     and the nation. During construction, the program will create 
     20,000 jobs per year. After it is open, it will help ensure a 
     sustainable and growing economic future for California.
       By including language in its appropriations bill intended 
     to withhold federal support and approvals for the project, 
     the House is sending a message to all the states that major 
     infrastructure projects--even after receiving federal grants 
     and multiple federal approvals--are at risk of being halted 
     in their tracks based on political considerations in 
     Washington, DC.
       In a May 11 letter to House appropriators, OMB Director 
     Shaun Donovan also expressed the Administration's opposition 
     to the language in the House bill dealing with the California 
     High-Speed Rail program.
       We believe that the California high speed rail program will 
     serve as model of a Federal, state, industry and labor 
     partnership that creates jobs, links economies and 
     communities, preserves our environment and builds a 
     sustainable future. Therefore, we respectfully request that 
     your subcommittee produce a bill free of any harmful riders 
     in the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, 
     and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would impede 
     efforts to construct any specific high-speed rail project, 
     including the California High-Speed Rail program.
       Thank you for your attention to our views.
           Sincerely,
     American Council of Engineering Companies.
     American Public Transportation Association.
     American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
     Association of Independent Passenger Rail Operators.
     Railway Supply Institute.
     U.S. High Speed Rail Association.

                              {time}  2130

  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. The administration has been very clear 
that it strongly opposes provisions in this bill that would restrict 
the development of high-speed rail. Moreover, the California 
congressional delegation has overwhelmingly opposed these restrictive 
riders in the past, and I am happy to stand with them again tonight, 
urging my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DENHAM. I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from California 
(Mr. LaMalfa).
  Mr. LaMALFA. Madam Chair, I thank my colleague, Mr. Denham, for his 
hard work on curtailing this waste of taxpayer money.
  Here are just a few of the headlines currently on the Internet about 
California's high-speed rail project: ``Why California's High-Speed 
Rail is Off Track''; ``High-Speed Rail Brings Fears of Gutted 
Communities and Noise''; ``High-Speed Rail Foes Cite Noise, Property 
Value Concerns''; ``Protesters Rail Against High-Speed Rail Route 
Proposal''; ``High-Speed Rail Opponents Expected to Converge at LA 
Meeting''; finally, ``What an Unholy Mess This California Bullet Train 
Meeting is Going to Be.''
  This is all reflected in southern California planning for a route 
that isn't even planned yet; yet billions of dollars of the California 
taxpayers--but even more importantly, in this body, Federal taxpayer 
dollars--are being planned and spent and will be spent if we don't stop 
this here tonight for a route, for a plan, for a project that isn't 
even a plan.
  You couldn't send astronauts into outer space without a plan to bring 
them back, yet they are hell-bent on this project to spend the money as 
fast as they can without having any idea where the route is going to 
go; and we are seeing people all over California protest it, for a 
project that has tripled in price from what the voters saw as Prop 1A 
just 7 years ago. Yet here we are 7 years later with a groundbreaking 
that consists of knocking down some of the houses and buildings without 
any track being laid, without a real project they can actually count on 
being a true route under Prop 1A from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We 
need to put a stop to this now.
  Mr. DENHAM. Madam Chair, as you have heard, this project is $70 
billion over budget. It has a shortfall of $87 billion. If my 
colleagues in California, if the minority party of this body would like 
to continue on with this project, then where is the $87 billion? I 
don't see a proposal from them, nor do I see a proposal from the 
Governor for $87 billion.
  We have priorities in the State. As you may know, we are going 
through a big drought in California. We would love to create the jobs. 
Let's utilize the billions of dollars that would be spent on high-speed 
rail over the next several decades on water projects that would 
actually help our infrastructure, our agriculture, as well as people 
throughout California.
  There is a good way to spend taxpayer dollars. This is not it. We 
cannot afford to leave the next generation with an $87 billion hole 
that will continue to not only put California in further debt, but will 
continue to show that our priorities are misguided.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Denham).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Peters

  Mr. PETERS. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used in contravention of Executive Order 11246 (relating 
     to Equal Employment Opportunity).

  Mr. PETERS (during the reading). Madam Chair, I ask unanimous consent 
that the amendment be considered as read.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from California?
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. Objection is heard.
  The Clerk will read.
  The Clerk continued to read.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. Peters) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. PETERS. Madam Chair, no American should be fired, denied a job or 
a place to live for being who they are or because of whom they love. 
Every American deserves to be treated equally and with dignity.
  My amendment would make a simple change to the text of the bill but 
make an important difference in the lives of LGBT Americans across the 
country. President Obama signed an executive order in July 2014 to 
prohibit Federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual 
orientation or gender identity against their employees or those seeking 
employment. This amendment would affirm that order by ensuring that no 
funds in the bill are used to conflict with the President's rule. It 
would demonstrate to the American people that Congress supports 
fairness and equality for all.
  Today, only 18 States and the District of Columbia have 
nondiscrimination protections for LGBT communities in sexual 
orientation and gender identity in both employment and housing. That 
means that in a number of States an LGBT individual can get married in 
the morning and fired from his or her job or denied an application in 
the afternoon for no other reason than the change in marital status. 
That is unacceptable. As a country that believes in equality for all 
people, we must do better.
  June is Pride Month, and in cities and towns across the country, 
millions

[[Page H3986]]

of Americans will celebrate the vibrant diversity of the LGBT 
communities who are enriching our society. As we look forward toward 
full nondiscrimination, we can help provide at least a small window of 
equality for all members of the LGBT community by passing this 
amendment. I urge my colleagues to stand on the side of equality and 
against discrimination and support this amendment.
  I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Price).
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Madam Chair, I simply want to commend him for offering this amendment 
and offer my enthusiastic support.
  In various ways, we ensure that the Federal Government doesn't pay 
substandard wages, doesn't do other things that are detrimental in the 
workplace or that set a low bar, set a low standard. This amendment 
adds to that, I think, in a very constructive way. It adds to worker 
protections by preventing any company that does business with the 
Government from firing employees based on who they are and whom they 
love.
  I commend the gentleman. It is a fine amendment. I hope colleagues 
will support it.
  Mr. PETERS. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Peters).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. MULLIN. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.


                    Amendment Offered by Mr. Mullin

  Mr. MULLIN. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to enforce subpart B of part 750 of title 23, Code of 
     Federal Regulations, regarding signs for service clubs and 
     religious notices as defined in section 153(p) of such part.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Oklahoma and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oklahoma.
  Mr. MULLIN. Madam Chair, churches and civic groups are in danger of 
being forced to tear down their informational highway signs. Some of 
these signs have stood for decades. The current law states that 
religious and civic groups can no longer have signs larger than 8 
square feet. That is 2 feet by 4 feet. However, ``Free Coffee'' signs 
in the same law are unlimited in size.
  My amendment would allow churches and civic organizations to keep 
their signs that are larger than 8 square feet. This is a reasonable 
amendment. It would be beneficial to the safety of the traveling public 
and allow our Federal Government to focus its resources on more 
critical infrastructure uses. We need to be focusing on repairing our 
roads and bridges, not tearing down church signs.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, this amendment would 
suspend enforcement of rules governing the size of billboards for 
religious organizations and service clubs. These rules have been in 
place for a long time--since 1975.
  As I understand it, the gentleman is seeking to increase the 
allowable size of billboards for religious organizations and service 
clubs from 8 square feet to 32 square feet. This isn't the appropriate 
place to deal with this issue. We have barely heard of it before it was 
offered. We certainly haven't had extensive deliberations, haven't 
heard from State authorities, local authorities, people who have a 
stake in this. It needs to be reviewed and debated within the context 
of the surface transportation authorization.
  The authorizing committees are in the midst of working on the new 
authorization bill right now. That is where I would suggest the 
gentleman might want to take his concerns. This is not the place here 
tonight. I urge colleagues to reject this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. MULLIN. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Bridenstine), my colleague.
  Mr. BRIDENSTINE. Madam Chair, I rise today to give my very strong 
support to this amendment offered by my colleague from Oklahoma.
  The Federal Government creates a regulation. That regulation says 
that, if you are a church or if you are a civic group or if you are 
some kind of community organization, you are limited in the size of 
your sign to 8 square feet, 2 feet by 4 feet; however, if you are a 
billboard company, you can have 25 feet by 60 feet. This is 
discrimination against churches and civic groups that I think is 
inappropriate.
  I would also say that the State of Oklahoma has weighed in. The State 
of Oklahoma would like to regulate the signs in the State of Oklahoma. 
I think that is absolutely not only appropriate, but I think it is 
constitutional that the State have the right to regulate the signs in 
its own State.
  Here is the sad part that I would like to let people know and 
understand. If the State of Oklahoma chooses not to enforce this 
Federal regulation that is discriminatory, then the State of Oklahoma 
risks losing 10 percent of its Federal funding for roads. This is the 
Federal Government using Oklahoma taxpayer dollars against the State of 
Oklahoma. It is Federal bullying.
  This amendment offered by my colleague from Oklahoma is a good 
amendment. I fully support it, and I highly recommend my colleagues 
support it.
  Mr. MULLIN. Our churches and our civic organizations have better ways 
to spend their limited resources than tearing down signs. Our States 
would have more time on their hands to be looking at our roads and 
bridges if they didn't have to go out and enforce a law that our State 
doesn't even want. If we could simply be focusing on the important 
issues, like our roads and our bridges, not wasting Federal dollars and 
State dollars on enforcing an out-of-date law, this wouldn't even 
simply be an issue.
  I would urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Mullin).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Grothman

  Mr. GROTHMAN. I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act 
     under the heading ``Department of Housing and Urban 
     Development--Housing Programs--Project-Based Rental 
     Assistance'' may be used for any family who is not an elderly 
     family or a disabled family (as such terms are defined in 
     section 3(b) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 
     U.S.C. 1437a(b)) and who was not receiving project-based 
     rental assistance under section 8 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
     1437f) as of October 1, 2015, and the amount otherwise 
     provided under such heading is reduced by $300,000,000.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Wisconsin and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin.

                              {time}  2145

  Mr. GROTHMAN. The first thing we should look at when we look at this 
budget is cost, and this is one program that is going up in cost. We 
are still in a position in this budget in which we anticipate borrowing 
about 14 percent. We have the $18 trillion debt.
  This amendment will reduce the cost in this budget by $300 million, 
which by itself is nothing to sneeze at, but the real reason for this 
amendment is the perverse incentives in Section 8 and other tenant-
based rental assistance programs.
  All of these programs are conditioned upon, first, having little or 
no income. It is wrong to encourage people not to work. As I get around 
my district, I find so many employers who cannot find employees today, 
in part, because they feel it pays better not to work.

[[Page H3987]]

  Secondly, and more importantly, this program, like so many other 
programs designed to help poor people, has a huge marriage penalty 
associated with it. In order to get this low-income housing, it almost 
encourages one--it does encourage one--to have children without a 
mother and father at home. To continue this program or even expand this 
program to more people is to just destroy the moral fiber of America.
  This amendment is tailored to not include or not reduce low-income 
housing for the elderly or disabled. I am aware of the fact that we 
have people in this country on Social Security maybe making $500 a 
month, and they may find it very difficult to find anywhere else to 
live, so I am not chipping away at that part of the program.
  I will give you an example. In my district, I talked to someone who 
ran one of these low-income projects--not Section 8, but more of a 
project-based one--and they were very proud of what nice, low-income 
housing it was. It was very nice, very generous. They pointed out the 
only thing you needed to do to get these apartments for $25 a month was 
to not have a job. Now, can you imagine anything so foolish as to 
encourage people to not have a job?
  In any event, I hope this amendment passes. I hope there is nobody 
else in this room who would have any objection to this commonsense 
amendment designed to restore the moral fiber that made America great.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, if there is an air of 
familiarity about this amendment and what the gentleman has just said 
about his amendment, listeners may want to tune in and remind 
themselves of virtually this same amendment being offered last week.
  I should begin by saying that tenant-based Section 8 housing--a 
program, by the way, that conservatives should love because it is 
market based and the tenants pay a substantial portion of their income 
in rent--tenant-based Section 8 housing in this bill is just barely 
held even, with more or less level funding. Of course, other things in 
the bill are treated much worse.
  The gentleman apparently thinks there is too much money in this bill, 
too much investment, with thousands on waiting lists across this 
country. This amendment would certainly increase those waiting lists.
  Now, last week, it was $614 million cut; this week, it is a $300 
million cut--so not quite as many people would be evicted. This week, 
the gentleman is saying that the elderly and the disabled would not be 
evicted. Who does that leave? It leaves everybody else; it leaves 
working families.
  I ask anyone in this body to go to their local community house 
authority and ask about those waiting lists. Ask how many people are 
waiting for a roof over their head who are willing to work, willing to 
participate in financing, but need a leg up, the kind of support that 
tenant-based and project-based Section 8 represents.
  It escapes me why the gentleman would offer this amendment in a bill 
that is already at rock bottom.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this amendment, just as we did last 
week, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. I do not give up hope that, by the time this budget 
rolls around next year, you see the wisdom of the amendment.
  I think a lot of people get confused when they find waiting lists for 
this sort of program. If you are handing out apartments for $25 a 
month, of course, there are going to be waiting lists; so that is not 
surprising. Even then, there are certain areas in my State, in my 
district, where they are trying to find people who are not in the local 
area to fill these units because there is an excess of units.
  Nevertheless, I think you want to think about the perverse incentives 
you have in a program in which, the more you work, the more your rent 
goes up. In order to get in, in the first place, you almost can't work 
at all; and, secondly, what the long-term effect on our society is if 
you would tell somebody that, if they raise a child out of wedlock, you 
get a free, air-conditioned, maybe two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, but 
if you get married to somebody with a job, you lose that apartment--is 
that the type of incentive we want for the next generation?
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Grothman).
  The amendment was rejected.


                   Amendment Offered by Mr. Grothman

  Mr. GROTHMAN. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act 
     under the heading ``Department of Housing and Urban 
     Development--Public and Indian Housing Programs--Tenant-Based 
     Rental Assistance'' may be used for any family who is not an 
     elderly family or a disabled family (as such terms are 
     defined in section 3(b) of the United States Housing Act of 
     1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)) and who was not receiving tenant-
     based rental assistance under section 8 of such Act (42 
     U.S.C. 1437f) as of October 1, 2015, and the amount otherwise 
     provided under such heading is reduced, the amount specified 
     under such heading for renewals of expiring section 8 tenant-
     based annual contributions contracts is reduced, and the 
     amount specified under such heading for administrative and 
     other expenses of public housing agencies in administering 
     the section 8 tenant-based rental assistance program) is 
     reduced, by $300,000,000, $210,000,000, and $90,000,000, 
     respectively.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from Wisconsin and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. I think all we talked about in that last amendment 
applies to this amendment, with one additional thing that people should 
find offensive, because here we are dealing with project-based rental 
assistance.
  Not only are we encouraging some people not to work very hard, not 
only are we encouraging people not to raise children in an old-
fashioned nuclear family, we are also kind of having a strong element 
of corporate welfare here, too, which is something I don't care for.
  Over time, we have this kind of industry growing up in which you 
operate low-income housing. In some ways, I assume people are entering 
into it because it is more profitable than a pure, free market sort of 
thing; and I would think that people who are opposed to corporate 
welfare ought to be opposed to it for that reason as well.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I claim the time in 
opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, here we go again with, once 
again, a reprisal of the amendment offered last week and rejected.
  The amendment offered tonight separates that amendment in two: 
tenant-based Section 8, project-based Section 8.
  The argument does apply, I think, to any of this assisted housing. It 
behooves us to reflect on some numbers, I think. On any given night, 
575,000 of our constituents are homeless, absolutely homeless. That is 
50,000 veterans, by the way.
  They get on these waiting lists for these Section 8 projects, and the 
waiting lists often have thousands of names. They finally get into 
Section 8. They are paying a large proportion of their income in rent. 
They are struggling to get a leg up and struggle to find jobs.
  By the way, how likely is one to find a job if one is homeless? If 
you are talking about self-reliance, isn't it better to have a roof 
over your head and have some of the basics of life so you can go out 
and seek work?
  Evictions, we are talking about evictions here. How does kicking out 
children and how does kicking out families promote marriage, for 
goodness' sake? How does it promote wedlock? How does it promote self-
reliance? It is likely to promote destitution and desperation.
  We are a better country than this. I plead with colleagues, look at 
this amendment closely. Think about what we stand for. Think about the 
fact that this bill is already inadequate. Let's not make it worse.

[[Page H3988]]

  Reject this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GROTHMAN. First of all, I would like to clarify something in the 
amendment. The amendment does not apply to people who were receiving 
rental assistance--and neither did the other amendment--prior to 
October 1 of this year. It is not a matter of kicking people out; it is 
a matter of not putting any further people on.
  Furthermore, I think we have to discuss how generous this benefit is. 
There are so many people in our society who are living with parents, 
living with other family members, living with roommates, and working to 
afford that rent. To give somebody a freestanding apartment--some of 
these are very nice apartments, two-bedroom, two-bath, air-conditioned 
apartments--without having to work at all to receive that apartment is 
just a horrible incentive.
  I would ask the gentleman to go back in his district and talk to 
people who live in the neighborhoods where they have these subsidized 
projects. One of the things I find is that sometimes people who live in 
maybe high-end areas and are not familiar with these get confused.
  I think, if you talk to people who know people who live in this 
subsidized housing, you will have no problem finding many anecdotes of 
people who are clearly not hurting materially; and, in order to keep 
their subsidies going, they cannot work, work harder, or get raises. 
Above all, they can't get married.
  I think you have to ask yourself whether we ought to continue these 
programs that are around year after year after year or whether it is 
high time to look at these programs; change the underlying 
qualifications; change the time limits; change the amount that has to 
be paid; and, quite frankly, also sometimes look at the very generous 
accommodations that the government is providing, quite frankly, more 
generous accommodations than a lot of people who are working quite hard 
have.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Grothman).
  The amendment was rejected.


                     Amendment Offered by Mr. Issa

  Mr. ISSA. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the 
     following:
       Sec. __.  None of the funds made available by this Act may 
     be used to acquire a camera for the purpose of collecting or 
     storing vehicle license plate numbers.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 287, the gentleman 
from California and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. ISSA. Madam Chair, this amendment reflects a simple principle. 
The government does not and should not have unchecked power to track 
American citizens.
  There are many very legitimate reasons to observe license plates 
using camera technology. Every day in America, law enforcement drives 
through neighborhoods looking for stolen cars. Cameras and computers 
identify the number of that plate and run it against a database to see 
if it is stolen.

                              {time}  2200

  But again, there is no reason to store that data. The bulk collection 
of the location of every American's automobile is well beyond a 
reasonable standard. It is a difficult one, but it is simple in this 
case.
  The Federal Government should not provide money for cameras that 
indiscriminately bulk collect information on where you are at all 
times. I hope that this amendment will spark a healthy dialogue similar 
to the one we had on the PATRIOT Act, one in which we agreed that with 
a court order you can collect this kind of data, with a court order you 
can seek it, with a known database of stolen cars or wanted criminals, 
you can compare a camera image.
  But the simple collection, in bulk, of your location of your car, 24 
hours a day, using thousands, tens of thousands or perhaps millions of 
cameras, is far too ``1984'' for Members of this body or the American 
people.
  Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, this amendment is well-
intentioned, I realize, but I think it is an overreach and certainly 
not appropriate for this appropriations bill.
  Records of license plate information can serve as a helpful clue to 
investigators. They can produce leads in criminal cases. This 
information is also used routinely by law enforcement and by the 
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help find missing 
children.
  I understand there are legitimate privacy concerns. I share those 
concerns. But there is already a Federal law that governs the use of 
such data. The data is not used to track citizens in real time, despite 
what some assert.
  Putting restrictions on law enforcement's ability to obtain and use 
this license plate information without really fully exploring the facts 
or giving due consideration to the consequences, this needs to be done 
by the appropriate committees. But doing it here tonight seems risky 
and unreasonable, actually, to expect us to legislate on this matter in 
the context of this appropriations bill.
  Madam Chair, I will insert into the Record a letter from the 
Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement entities asking 
Congress not to limit the use of this information.
                                                National Fraternal


                                              Order of Police,

                                                February 23, 2015.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Harry M. Reid,
     Minority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. John A. Boehner,
     Speaker of the House, House of Representatives Washington, 
         DC.
     Hon. Nancy P. Pelosi,
     Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator McConnell, Mr. Speaker, Senator Reid and 
     Representative Pelosi: I am writing on behalf of the members 
     of the Fraternal Order of Police to express our concern about 
     continued efforts to portray automated license plate 
     recognition (ALPR) as an ongoing, national real-time tracking 
     system operated by law enforcement. This is emphatically not 
     the case.
       We believe that there is a fundamental misunderstanding as 
     to how ALPR technology is deployed and used by law 
     enforcement and other public safety agencies. Many people, 
     including members of Congress, are under the impression that 
     this technology is being used by our national security 
     apparatus to geotrack our citizens and monitor their 
     movements. Indeed, a Dear Colleague letter circulated last 
     year in support of an amendment defunding this technology was 
     entitled, ``Stop NSA-like geotracking of innocent 
     Americans.''
       This is not the case. To begin with, ALPR data is simply a 
     photograph of a vehicle's license plate in a public place at 
     a particular point in time. Geotracking is the use of Global 
     Positioning System (GPS) data to track over time the movement 
     of a specific electronic device capable of emitting GPS 
     location information. Conversely, ALPR data is collected 
     anonymously without personally identifying information. A 
     government agency with access to ALPR data may connect that 
     data to personal information from a State's vehicle 
     registration system, but if they do so without a legitimate 
     law enforcement or public safety purpose, then they are in 
     violation of the Drivers' Privacy Protection Act. Any other 
     use of the data would be an unjustifiable violation of 
     privacy and Federal law.
       Thousands of local, State and Federal law enforcement 
     agencies use ALPR data every day to generate leads in 
     criminal investigations, apprehend murderers, respond to 
     Amber and Silver alerts, find missing children, recover 
     stolen vehicles, and protect our borders. Even something as 
     simple as the use of cameras at traffic lights and toll 
     booths has a beneficial impact on the safety of our roadways.
       The FOP would also submit that the only difference between 
     the use of ALPR technology and an officer taking down license 
     plate information along with the time, date and location is 
     the efficiency by which the data is collected. Every State in 
     the Republic mandates that every vehicle have a mounted and 
     clearly visible license plate for the specific purpose of 
     contributing to public safety, whether the data is collected 
     by a fellow citizen, law enforcement officer or camera.
       With these facts in mind, it is our hope that Congress will 
     recognize the substantial benefits this technology makes to 
     public safety and oppose any legislation or amendment that 
     would restrict the use of ALPR by law enforcement.
       On behalf of the more than 335,000 members of the Fraternal 
     Order of Police, I thank you

[[Page H3989]]

     for your consideration of our views. If I can provide any 
     further information about law enforcement's use of ALPR 
     technology, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive 
     Director Jim Pasco in my Washington office.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Chuck Canterbury,
     National President.
                                  ____

                                                    March 9, 2015.
     Hon. John Boehner,
     Speaker.
     Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
     Minority Leader,
     House of Representatives.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Majority Leader.
     Hon. Harry Reid,
     Minority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, and 
     Leader Reid: We are deeply concerned about efforts to portray 
     automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology as a 
     national real-time tracking capability for law enforcement. 
     The fact is that this technology and the data it generates is 
     not used to track people in real time. ALPR is used every day 
     to generate investigative leads that help law enforcement 
     solve murders, rapes, and serial property crimes, recover 
     abducted children, detect drug and human trafficking rings, 
     find stolen vehicles, apprehend violent criminal alien 
     fugitives, and support terrorism investigations.
       There is a misconception of continuous government tracking 
     of individuals using ALPR information. This has led to 
     attempts to curtail law enforcement's use of the technology 
     without a proper and fair effort to truly understand the 
     anonymous nature of the data, how it is used, and how it is 
     protected.
       We are seeing harmful proposals--appropriations amendments 
     and legislation--to restrict or completely ban law 
     enforcement's use of ALPR technology and data without any 
     effort to truly understand the issue. Yet, any review would 
     make clear that the value of this technology is beyond 
     question, and that protections against mis-use of the data by 
     law enforcement are already in place. That is one of the 
     reasons why critics are hard-pressed to identify any actual 
     instances of mis-use.
       If legislative efforts to curtail ALPR use are successful, 
     federal, state, and local law enforcement's ability to 
     investigate crimes will be significantly impacted given the 
     extensive use of the technology today.
       We call on Congress to foster a reasonable and transparent 
     discussion about ALPR. We believe strong measures can be 
     taken to ensure citizens' privacy while enabling law 
     enforcement investigators to take advantage of the 
     technology. Strict data access controls, mandatory auditing 
     of all use of ALPR systems, and regular reporting on the use 
     of the technology and data prevent misuse of the capability 
     while enabling law enforcement to make productive use of it. 
     Adoption and enforcement of strong policies on the use of 
     ALPR and other technologies by individual law enforcement 
     agencies would also help.
       We strongly urge members of the House and Senate to 
     understand and recognize the substantial daily benefits of 
     this technology to protect the public and investigate 
     dangerous criminals. We urge opposition to any bill or 
     amendment that would restrict the use of ALPR without full 
     consideration of the issue.
           Sincerely,
       J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County Police 
     Department, President, Major Cities Chiefs Police 
     Association; Chief Richard Beary, President, International 
     Association of Chiefs of Police; Mike Sena, Director, 
     Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, President, 
     National Fusion Center Association; Ronald C. Sloan, 
     Director, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, President, 
     Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies; Sheriff 
     Donny Youngblood, President, Major County Sheriffs' 
     Association; Bob Bushman, President, National Narcotic 
     Officers' Associations' Coalition; Jonathan Thompson, 
     Executive Director, National Sheriffs' Association; William 
     Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police 
     Organizations; Mike Moore, President, National District 
     Attorneys Association; Andrews Matthews, Chairman, National 
     Troopers Coalition.

  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I urge opposition to the amendment, and 
I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ISSA. Madam Chair, in closing, I respect the gentleman's opinion, 
but we are not legislating on this appropriations bill. What we are 
doing is determining that the relevant committees of jurisdiction have 
not authorized broad collection of data of the American people.
  The committees of jurisdiction have not authorized this sort of 
proactive tracking of people because, at some point, someday there may 
be a reason to use that database. So, in fact, it is perfectly 
appropriate not to spend the money, not to authorize the money until or 
unless the authorizing committees have made a thorough decision of what 
should be authorized and what safeguards need to be in order.
  So my amendment will simply limit, until such time as a legislating 
amendment or authorization from a committee can, in fact, ensure that 
we both authorize law enforcement to collect and protect the privacy of 
American citizens because, ultimately, these are the taxpayer dollars 
of the American citizens and the privacy embodied in the Constitution 
and guaranteed to every citizen.
  Therefore, I insist that Members consider voting for an amendment 
that recognizes, just as the minority clearly said, we have not yet had 
a debate on the basis under which we should pay for the bulk collection 
against the American people without their permission or safeguards of 
their rights.
  I urge support for the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Issa).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. ISSA. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last 
word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, we are coming to the end of 
several days of floor debate on the 2016 Transportation, Housing and 
Urban Development Appropriations bill.
  I want to, again, express my appreciation to Chairman Diaz-Balart, 
subcommittee members from both sides of the aisle, and our remarkable, 
dedicated staff for all the hard work that has gone into this bill and 
for the orderly and civil character of our floor deliberations.
  I very much wish that all of this work and all of our efforts at 
cooperation were being more adequately rewarded, but they are not. And 
that is not the chairman's fault. It is the fault of the majority's 
profoundly misguided and flawed budget policy, a policy that has left 
this bill a mere shadow of what it should be and has decimated the 
investments a great country should be making.
  Make no mistake, Madam Chair, our roads, our highways are crumbling. 
One out of every nine bridges in this country is structurally deficient 
and in need of repair or replacement.
  Americans spend the equivalent of one work week a year sitting in 
congestion caused by overcrowded highways. The capital backlog for our 
transit systems is nearly $78 billion.
  And make no mistake, our public housing resources don't meet the 
basic needs of millions of vulnerable and low-income Americans. On any 
given night, 575,000 of our constituents, including more than 50,000 
veterans, are homeless. The maintenance backlog for public housing 
approaches $25 billion.
  Madam Chair, this is a defining crisis for our generation. This bill, 
which is intended to help improve housing and transportation options 
and create jobs for hard-working American families, will, instead, dig 
the hole deeper by cutting everything from safety programs to 
transportation construction grants to maintenance budgets for public 
housing.
  It would be bad enough if the cuts were limited to our transportation 
and housing systems, but Republicans have taken the same shortsighted 
approach with each of this year's domestic appropriations bills.
  Unfortunately, the majority has targeted domestic appropriations to 
bear the entire brunt of deficit reduction. That means deep cuts, not 
just to our transportation and housing infrastructure but also to 
research support, programs that make college more affordable, the very 
things that make this country the envy of the world.
  Meanwhile, the majority lacks the courage to address the real drivers 
of the deficit, which I think most Members of this Chamber realize are 
tax expenditures and entitlement spending.
  In the 1990s, we achieved budget surpluses as the result of concerted 
bipartisan efforts to balance the budget through a comprehensive 
approach. We actually paid off $400 billion of the national debt.
  Until we have a similar budget agreement this year, one that sets 
responsible funding and revenue levels across

[[Page H3990]]

the board, we cannot write a bill that addresses our country's 
crumbling roads and bridges, that brings our rail system up to first-
world standards, or that provides shelter for America's elderly, 
disabled, and other vulnerable populations.
  In fact, we cannot make any of the investments that we simply have to 
make to continue as the greatest country in the world. So I implore my 
colleagues to vote ``no'' on this shortsighted, irresponsible bill, but 
beyond that, to consider the long-term consequences of the fiscal 
course we are on. We simply have to make a correction for our country's 
sake.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Madam Chair, I want to thank the ranking member, 
first, for his kind words towards me right now but, more importantly, 
for his willingness to work with me, to spend the time, the effort. 
Both he and his staff, the committee staff, have, frankly, worked 
awfully hard on making sure we do the best job that we can, and I am 
grateful for that.
  I just very briefly want to just mention that this bill, this is a 
bill that prioritizes funding and funds our country's priorities. It is 
a balanced bill.
  And very important, Madam Chair, this is a bill, that, yes, it does 
not raise taxes.
  Now, I know that a lot of folks have talked about the President's 
requests and the President's requests. And the President's requests for 
this area are much higher in many areas than what this bill is funding.
  But let's remember a couple of things. The President has massive 
taxes, tax increases in his proposals, number one. And also, that this 
bill adheres to not only the budget that was passed by Congress, House 
and Senate, but this bill adheres to the law, the law that was passed 
by Congress and signed by the President of the United States, the so-
called ``sequester'' law.
  So if we go above and beyond that level, which some people, I guess, 
don't remember, it is fake. It gets sequestered.
  So, Madam Chair, again, I thank the ranking member for his hard work.
  This is a balanced bill. It is a good bill. It is a responsible bill. 
It pays and funds the priorities of this great country. And I am going 
to ask for our colleagues to give us a favorable vote on this fine 
bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.

                          ____________________