U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine
Statement on FY2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill
Conference Report to HR.2112
Congressional Record - November 17, 2011
Mr. President, as the ranking member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I rise in support of this conference report, and I encourage our colleagues to join me in voting for this measure.
Let me first thank Chairman Patty Murray and her staff who worked collaboratively with me and with my talented staff throughout this entire process. I also wish to thank Chairman Kohl, Ranking Member Blunt, Chairman Mikulski, Ranking Member Hutchison, and of course the leaders of the full Appropriations Committee, Senator Inouye and Senator Cochran. All of us have worked closely together to usher this first group of appropriations bills to final passage.
I am particularly pleased that we brought these appropriations bills to the floor through the regular order enabling members to examine, debate, and vote in a fair and transparent process. That is a big change from the approach that has, unfortunately, marred the process in previous years when all the appropriations bills--or nearly all of them--were bundled into one enormous omnibus bill that was considered at the last moment in a rushed manner and without the opportunity for full and fair debate and amendment. We didn't do it that way this time, and I think that represents progress.
I am also pleased this conference report contains provisions that are important to the State of Maine.
The Transportation-HUD bill recognizes the fiscal reality of what is now an unsustainable $15 trillion debt, while making critical infrastructure and economic development investments that will help to create jobs. In this bill, we are also meeting our responsibility to very vulnerable populations in our country. The bill strikes the right balance between thoughtful investment and fiscal restraint, thereby setting the stage for future economic growth. The proposed nonemergency funding levels for fiscal year 2012 in this bill are nearly $13 billion below fiscal year 2010, a reduction of nearly one-fifth in 2 years' time. These significant savings represent an unmistakable commitment and movement in the direction of fiscal responsibility.
For those reasons, and for many more, I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this conference report.