This was a vote on final passage of legislation providing roughly $67 billion for programs operated by the departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development in 2011. The $67 billion total included $45 billion for highway infrastructure, over $11 billion for public transportation investments, and $2.5 billion for repairs in public housing.
Rep. John Olver (D-MA) urged support for the bill: “Specifically within transportation, investments are targeted to areas that will create skilled jobs immediately and build the infrastructure that underpins future economic growth. The fact remains that our transportation network has great investment needs with aging highways, bridges, and transit systems, and an air traffic control system in desperate need of modernization. It is my belief that we can no longer defer investments in our transportation systems, which provide the foundation for our nation's economy.”
Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI) also encouraged members to support the bill: “…Vulnerable populations affected by the economic downturn, such as the homeless, the elderly and the disabled, are… supported in this bill through programs such as funding for section 8 housing vouchers [housing vouchers for low-income people]….Low-income individuals have disproportionately been affected by this economic crisis. We need to focus instead on the right kind of affordable housing for seniors, the disabled and the homeless. That's what this bill does, and I urge support of it.”
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) blasted the bill: “The truth is, as I look at this extraordinary piece of legislation and I think of a $1.47 trillion deficit this year, this massive spending bill just seems to be emblematic of the fact that this majority just doesn't get it. They don't understand that the American people are bone weary of deficits and debt and spending as usual. And they long for leadership in Washington, D.C., that's willing to play it straight, make the hard choices.”
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) also urged members to oppose the bill: “The nation's debt is the biggest threat to U.S. national security. Yet the Democratic majority brings a bill to this floor spending 38 percent more on THUD [transportation, housing, and urban development] than just 3 years ago….We are truly at a tipping point which is why the American people are saying: what part of broke don't you understand? No nation can borrow, spend or bail out its way to economic prosperity. This bill needs to be rejected.”
The House passed the transportation and housing bill by a vote of 251-167. Voting “yea” were 237 Democrats and 14 Republicans. 154 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation providing roughly $67 billion for programs operated by the departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development in 2011.