On July 18, 2023, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Bill.
During the markup, the Committee Republicans turned down proposed amendments by the Democrats, which sought to impose housing requirements, allocate funding to climate initiatives, prohibit regulations on commercial motor vehicle speed limiters, support the California High-Speed Rail project, and promote Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
On the other hand, Republicans approved several amendments, including technical changes to the bill and report. They also passed amendments prohibiting toll collection in Oregon, regulating flags flown over federal facilities, safeguarding against religious discrimination, reducing DOT Secretary’s funds, ensuring funds do not violate the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, and removing certain Community Project Funding projects.
Throughout the markup, there were disagreements across the aisle, with one notable point of contention being Democratic projects that would provide LGBTQ-related services. Conservative committee members voted to strip funding that had previously been agreed to.
With a vote of 34 to 27, the bill was approved by the Committee. Although this bill maintains rental assistance funding, a vitally important program that keeps people housed, it also includes deep spending cuts in other areas and elimination of some important programs. The Transportation part of the bill is hit hardest. One of the programs that is eliminated in this bill is the Family Unification Program (FUP), which provides vouchers for families and individuals with experience in the child welfare system. FUP vouchers can be given to families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in either the imminent placement of the children in out-of-home care or the delay in reunification, and to eligible young people who have exited foster care. As housing costs rise and it becomes increasingly difficult to find and maintain affordable housing, these vouchers are a critical support for families.
By Miyah Jones, Policy Intern