Rep. Cisneros Secures 39th District Priorities in House-Passed Appropriations Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) voted for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, as included in H.R. 3055, the Second FY 2020 Appropriations Minibus. The bill provides record levels of infrastructure investment, including a renewed focus on affordable housing, protections for vulnerable populations, and bolsters resilience to climate change.
“Whether I’m talking to constituents at community events or meeting with city leaders, housing and transportation needs are always on people’s minds,” said Rep. Cisneros. “From investing in our roads, bridges, transit, rail, and airports to strengthening our communities through important grants and social programs, the budget passed in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill represents an important investment in America’s infrastructure and an investment in our underserved communities. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to secure this funding and I will continue to fight for investments that support the transportation, infrastructure, and housing priorities of the 39th District.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Cisneros testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development during the Subcommittee’s Member Day Hearing to urge strong funding levels for programs that directly benefit California’s 39th Congressional District. Additionally, he solicited feedback from constituents on funding priorities in FY 2020 to inform his programmatic requests to the House Appropriations Committee. Virtually all of the programs Rep. Cisneros personally advocated for, received increases in the bill.
During floor consideration of this bill, Rep. Cisneros successfully offered three amendments that were adopted in the House by voice vote:
- To help local bus fleets meet California’s zero emission goals, Rep. Cisneros offered an amendment with Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) to increase grant funding available for the Department of Transportation (DOT) Low or No Emission Vehicle Program by $2 million. This funding will help entities like the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) obtain funding under the program to test new technologies in real-world transit settings and advance the development of no-emission infrastructure in the region.
- To support economic development surrounding public transit stations, Rep. Cisneros offered an amendment with Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) to increase the funding available for Transit Oriented Development planning grants by $5 million. This will ensure resources are available to support entities like the City of Placentia, which is in the process of revitalizing the central business district, work with MetroLink to properly plan development surrounding a future passenger rail station to alleviate the region’s housing crisis and traffic congestion.
- Rep. Cisneros joined Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) in successfully offering an amendment to increase funding available for the HUD Veterans Affairs and Supportive Housing program by $2 million. This program provides rental assistance and wrap around support services to help homeless veterans transition into permanent housing. The President had proposed a complete elimination of this program in his FY 2020 budget request and the House bill originally included $40 million for the program, the same as the FY 2019 enacted level.
Summaries of other key provisions supported by Rep. Cisneros are below:
- $2.8 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants - This represents an increase of $164 million above the 2019 enacted level. Rep. Cisneros joined Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Katko (R-NY) in a bipartisan letter urging strong funding levels for homelessness assistance programs like the HUD McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance program.
- $169 million for the FAA Contract Tower Program - In order to ensure sufficient funding is available to support small airports across the country, like the Fullerton Airport, Rep. Cisneros sent a bipartisan letter led by Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) urging the Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Contract Tower Program.
- $1 billion for the INFRA grant program - In his testimony to the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Rep. Cisneros urged the Appropriations Committee to provide strong funding levels for INFRA grants to support the 57/60 project.
- $3.6 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) - In his testimony to the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Rep. Cisneros highlighted how every single city representative in California’s 39th highlighted the importance of CDBG funding. The funding provided under the bill represents an increase of $300 million above the 2019 enacted level. The President’s budget request had proposed eliminating CDBG funding.
- $1 billion for National Infrastructure Investments (also known as TIGER or BUILD) - the funding represents an increase of $100 million above the 2019 enacted level and is equal to the President’s budget request. In addition to testifying on the importance of this program, Rep. Cisneros joined Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in calling for $1.5 billion for BUILD grants.
- $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants - This represents an increase of $797 million above the President’s budget request. Rep. Cisneros testified on the importance of funding for this program to support rail transit in our region and sent a letter in support of strong funding levels for the program, as led by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA), to support LA Metro’s Capital Investment Grant projects: the Regional Connector Transit Project and the Westside Purple Line Extension.
- $350 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements - This funding supports rail infrastructure like the Fullerton Junction Interlocking Rail Project, which received a grant just this month to improve and expand inter-city commuter passenger rail service between Fullerton and Los Angeles. The funding provided under the bill represents an increase of $95 million above the 2019 enacted level and $20 million above the President’s budget request.
- $60 million for Housing Counseling - this represents an increase of $10 million above the 2019 level and $15 million above the President’s budget request. Rep. Cisneros joined Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) in calling for $65 billion for this HUD’s Housing Counseling Assistance program.
- $12.6 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance and $23.8 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance - These programs support flexible funding support that is driven by local organizations that help to keep people in seniors and households that confront financial challenges in their homes. Several highly effective organizations, including the Illumination Foundation and Pathways of Hope, employ these funds to reduce homelessness and help our most vulnerable neighbors. The funding provided represents increases of $570 million and $1.6 billion above the President’s budget request, respectively.