HBCU CAPITAL FINANCING IMPROVEMENT ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 111
(House of Representatives - July 11, 2016)

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[Pages H4606-H4607]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                 HBCU CAPITAL FINANCING IMPROVEMENT ACT

  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 5530) to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to modify certain 
provisions relating to the capital financing of historically Black 
colleges and universities, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 5530

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``HBCU Capital Financing 
     Improvement Act''.

     SEC. 2. BOND INSURANCE.

       Section 343 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     1066b) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``escrow account'' each place it appears 
     and inserting ``bond insurance fund''; and
       (2) in subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``an'' and inserting 
     ``a''; and
       (B) in paragraph (8), in the matter preceding subparagraph 
     (A), by striking ``an'' and inserting ``a''.

     SEC. 3. STRENGTHENING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.

       Paragraph (9) of section 345 of the Higher Education Act of 
     1965 (20 U.S.C. 1066d) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(9) may, directly or by grant or contract, provide 
     financial counseling and technical assistance to eligible 
     institutions to prepare the institutions to qualify, apply 
     for, and maintain a capital improvement loan, including a 
     loan under this part; and''.

     SEC. 4. HBCU CAPITAL FINANCING ADVISORY BOARD.

       Paragraph (2) of section 347(c) of the Higher Education Act 
     of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1066f(c)) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(2) Report.--On an annual basis, the Advisory Board shall 
     prepare and submit to the authorizing committees a report on 
     the status of the historically Black colleges and 
     universities described in paragraph (1)(A). That report shall 
     also include--
       ``(A) an overview of all loans in the capital financing 
     program, including the most recent loans awarded in the 
     fiscal year in which the report is submitted; and
       ``(B) administrative and legislative recommendations, as 
     needed, for addressing the issues related to construction 
     financing facing historically Black colleges and 
     universities.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Alabama (Mr. Byrne) and the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Adams) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama.


                             General Leave

  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on H.R. 5530.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Alabama?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5530, 
the HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act, and I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 5530 is one of a number of bills on the floor today 
with a common purpose: improving our country's higher education 
system--something that has been a priority of mine for a very long 
time.
  As a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and as chancellor 
of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, I worked to 
ensure that schools in our State were preparing students to succeed. As 
a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I have 
continued that focus and worked to deliver solutions that will provide 
all students with the quality education they deserve, and that is why I 
stand here today.
  An important part of helping students succeed is making sure schools 
and institutions have what they need to serve them well. That is 
exactly what H.R. 5530 will do.
  The bill reforms a program known as the HBCU Capital Financing 
Program. Congress created this program to provide Historically Black 
Colleges and Universities with low-cost capital they can use to make 
infrastructure improvements. It acts as a loan guarantee program so 
that these institutions can finance or refinance repairs, renovations, 
and construction on their campuses.
  The program also includes an advisory board that is intended to 
inform the Department of Education on the capital needs of HBCUs, how 
those needs can be met through the program, and how the program can be 
improved.
  H.R. 5530 will improve access to the HBCU Capital Financing Program 
by helping schools better understand the resources available to them. 
It will also strengthen the oversight program, reinforcing the duties 
of its advisory board by requiring it to report annually to Congress on 
the program's financial health. These are simple reforms that will help 
HBCUs better serve their students and ensure taxpayer dollars are being 
well-spent.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ADAMS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I thank the gentleman from Alabama also for serving as co-chair of 
the bipartisan HBCU Caucus and cosponsoring this bill.
  I am here today to encourage all of my colleagues to support the HBCU 
Capital Financing Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation seeks to 
offset inequities faced by Historically Black Colleges and Universities 
in the private bond market by making improvements to the HBCU Capital 
Financing Program, a program that provides low-cost capital to finance 
infrastructure improvements at HBCUs.

[[Page H4607]]

  This bill also makes technical changes to the program, such as 
changing the name of an account to more adequately describe the purpose 
of the fund. The simple change in name may increase participation by 
public HBCUs which otherwise may have been discouraged from 
participating.
  The HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act also provides additional 
support to institutions interested in participating but unable to meet 
the program's financial requirements. This bill allows the Department 
of Education to offer financial counseling to interested HBCUs, in 
addition to the technical assistance already provided by the agency 
through the program.
  The HBCU Capital Financing Program provides integral investments to 
HBCUs, allowing them to provide students with enhanced learning and 
living environments, rebuild and restructure historic buildings, and 
provide jobs in communities.

                              {time}  1630

  Without this important program, many HBCUs would be unable to 
maintain their campuses and make the improvements necessary to serve 
their student populations. Additionally, this financing program has 
been an effective tool, and it has exhibited very limited risk to the 
Federal Government and taxpayers.
  I hope these changes will encourage and help more HBCUs take 
advantage of the capital financing program, and I encourage all of my 
colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, as I hope the public is seeing as they watch this and 
all our colleagues are learning, all of these higher education bills 
are moving with bipartisan support. Either you have a Democratic 
sponsor and a Republican cosponsor or a Republican sponsor and a 
Democratic cosponsor. As they passed through our committee, they passed 
unanimously, which just goes to show that there are things that we in 
this Congress can work on together in a bipartisan fashion to make 
improvements for the American people.
  I hope that we will build on what we are doing today on these very 
important pieces of higher education legislation not just in our 
committee, but throughout the Congress because the American people sent 
us here to work together to get their problems solved and help them 
improve their lives. I think it is a very important idea we advance in 
this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers. I am prepared to close, and 
I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ADAMS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to simply close by saying that I 
want to thank Congressman Byrne and all the committee for their support 
of this important legislation and to all of our bipartisan cosponsors 
as well because what we have here, this legislation will definitely 
make improvements to the HBCU capital financing program which 
ultimately supports our HBCUs.
  Mr. Speaker, I have no other speakers, and I yield back the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I want to thank Representative 
Adams for her leadership on the issue of HBCUs in general, for her 
leadership in the bipartisan caucus, and for advancing this particular 
piece of legislation. I want to thank all of our colleagues that worked 
with us not just on this legislation, but through the other work of the 
caucus.
  HBCUs are an integral part of our higher education system in America, 
and I am proud of the work we have done to address the unique 
challenges they face. I look forward to continuing that work as we 
advance legislation like the HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act. By 
enhancing an existing program, H.R. 5530, will help these institutions 
make worthwhile investments that will benefit their students and the 
United States of America for years to come.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. I rise in support of H.R. 5530, ``HBCU Capital 
Financing Improvement Act'' and thank my good friend Congresswoman 
Adams for her leadership on this important bill.
  In particular, this bill strengthens and streamlines capital 
financing of historically Black colleges and universities, and bolsters 
the welfare of these institutions by providing financial counseling and 
technical assistance to qualified schools.
  This legislation will help lay the foundation needed to develop 
critical solutions to meet current and emerging needs, like student 
retention and improving graduation rates.
  As the founder and chair of the Children's Caucus and Member of the 
Congressional Black Caucus, I am particularly concerned about the 
events of the last few days and weeks that highlight a national problem 
that involves the health and well-being of young African American boys 
and young men.
  One important solution must be access to affordable quality education 
for every person in this nation.
  HBCUs graduate far more than their share of African American 
professionals.
  While the 105 HBCUs represent just 3 percent of the nation's 
institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly one quarter of 
African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees.
  I am proud that Texas Southern University one of the nation's great 
HBCU is a constituent in my home city of Houston.
  I routinely partner with Texas Southern University to promote 
education opportunities and collaborate on community projects 
routinely.
  H.R. 5530 will help facilitate my work with Texas Southern University 
and other HBCUs by expanding the financial opportunities they need.
  America's HBCUs have a proud and solid tradition.
  Scattered throughout the nation, many of these institutions of higher 
learning have fostered the academic development of African-Americans 
for over a century.
  Since their inception, HBCUs have furthered the development of 
African Americans who have become leaders in science, health, 
government, business, and education, the military, law, and world 
affairs including:
  Booker T. Washington, Founder of Tuskegee Institute
  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King;
  Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall;
  World renowned opera singer Leontyne Price;
  Media mogul Oprah Winfrey;
  And Congresswoman Barbara Jordan of Texas
  Mr. Speaker, we must continue to provide our strong support to HBCUs 
so that every citizen can enjoy a future of hope and opportunity.
  We commend these great institutions as they build on a foundation of 
continued success for every college student.
  Graduates of HBCUs have made great contributions to our society, and 
America, and they continue to serve as role models for all Americans.
  Most Americans agree that education provides the best chance of 
preparing today's youth to lead the Nation throughout the next century.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing the 
importance of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 
help strengthening them by continued funding these critical 
institutions and ensuring our nation's youth have access to quality 
education.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Byrne) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 5530, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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