WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7617, the second minibus of the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, which includes bills for Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Service and General Government, Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development:
“This appropriations package makes important investments to expand opportunities for all in Washington state and across the country. H.R. 7617 will improve our nation’s infrastructure, prioritize public health, invest in education and job training, expand access to affordable and fair housing, promote police reforms, support service members and military families, and combat climate change for generations to come.
“The legislation provides $89 billion in funding for new transportation and housing infrastructure projects, placing special emphasis on our nation’s most vulnerable communities. It takes steps to address our nation’s homelessness and housing affordability crisis by investing additional resources in affordable housing programs such as the Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers program and Homeless Assistant Grants. The bill also includes $8 billion in emergency funding for the BUILD and Capital Investment Grant programs, which communities across the country rely on to complete local transportation and infrastructure projects.
“A priority across the federal government needs to be combatting climate change. Under this bill, we drastically increase funding for renewable energy, electric grid modernization, and climate research. In addition, it makes a necessary investment of over $20 billion in emergency funding for green infrastructure investments to spur our transition to a clean economy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of investments in public health, medical research, and health care capacity. The Puget Sound is home to nationally renowned research and medical institutions like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington who rely on federal funding provided in this bill. The legislation also provides increased funding for Community Health Centers, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant program, all of which provide vital care to hundreds of thousands of residents in the 9th District.
“As many Americans face unemployment, investments in workforce training and higher education has never been more important. This legislation increases funding for community colleges, registered apprenticeships, and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant programs to support youth and adults with high-quality job training. The pandemic has also exposed the need for even more investment in our K-12 schools and afterschool programs. This bill increases funding for local school districts, special education, and community learning centers to serve students in vulnerable communities outside of regular school hours.
“This legislation also continues our fight to make critical reforms to policing and accountability. It conditions certain funds to state and local governments on improving police practices that were outlined in the Justice in Policing Act such as eliminating racial profiling and ending implicit bias, banning excessive force and chokeholds, and removing barriers to investigating law enforcement misconduct. In response to the gross misuse of Federal law enforcement personnel in Portland and their deployment to Seattle and other cities, the bill includes new restrictions on their authorities to engage mass gatherings or other peaceful protests.
“The programs funded in this appropriations bill reflects our values and priorities, and I will continue to fight for funding that reinforces our commitment to the health and wellbeing of communities in the future.”