The House Funds Transportation and Housing
June 11, 2015
The House late Tuesday passed the fifth of a dozen spending bills for FY 2016 to fund transportation and housing projects.
Lawmakers approved the $55.3 billion measure in a razor-thin 216-210 vote, after rejecting amendments from Democrats that would have increased funding for Amtrak and the D.C. Metro, as well as done away with a provision restricting travel to Cuba.
Passage of the bill also came after the White House threatened to veto the legislation earlier in the week because of insufficient funding levels, capped by sequestration, and controversial policy riders that would undermine President Obama's policy to normalize relations with Cuba, block funds for the transfer of any detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States and undo trucking regulations.
- Republicans allotted $1.13 billion for Amtrak, down from $1.4 billion Congress approved for 2015. The sharp drop provoked heavy criticism from Democrats, who tried to boost the funding through amendments.
- Overall, the bill provides $1.5 billion more than the current 2015 level, but $9.7 billion less than President Obama's request.
- Obama administration officials have blasted the bill's funding for housing vouchers, which would get $1.2 billion less than the president requested.
The lower chamber has seven remaining bills to pass by October. It has already passed bills funding military construction programs and the Department of Veterans Affairs, energy and water programs, legislative operations and the Commerce and Justice Departments and science agencies.
Source: Christina Marcos and Rebecca Shabad, "House Passes Funding for Transportation, Housing," The Hill, June 9, 2015.
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