Chairwoman Mikulski Remarks at Full Committee Markup of THUD and Energy/Water Bills

For Immediate Release      June 27, 2013

Contact: Rob Blumenthal (202) 224-1010 / Eve Goldsher (202) 224-3751

Remarks of Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski

June 27, 2013 Full Committee Markup

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, focused on the importance of making the necessary investments in American infrastructure needed to support a growing economy at today’s Full Committee markup of the fiscal year 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Energy and Water bills. The following are Chairwoman Mikulski’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

"I am pleased to hold this meeting to mark up the fiscal year 2014 bills for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Energy and Water Development. Last week, we met and approved our spending allocation, as well as the Military Construction-VA bill, by a vote of 23-6, and the Agriculture bill, also by a vote of 23-6.

"We’ve shown that despite our disagreement about the topline spending level, we are not disagreeable with each other, and we worked together to report two important bills to the full Senate. I hope we will continue our collegiality and can-do attitudes as we work to complete our markups before the August work period.

"Today, we are marking up two bills that are critical to maintaining the strength of America’s infrastructure and the jobs needed to build and repair our nation and to make America more competitive, innovative and resilient. The two bills we mark up today are truly economic engines for America, bills that create jobs and keep America moving.

"The Transportation-Housing bill invests in our roads and bridges, our rail and transit systems, and our airports. This bill supports our communities and neighborhoods with Community Development Block Grants, which provide flexible funding to meet local needs, and it supports the building and rehabilitation of affordable housing. The bill also meets compelling human needs for our vulnerable populations, such as housing for the elderly, disabled, and the homeless.

"I’m grateful for how the bill helps Maryland, by providing funding for our Metro system, allowing for much-needed improvements to make Metro safer. We have just marked the fourth anniversary of the deadly crash on the Red Line. This bill honors the legacy of the nine victims of that horrific crash by supporting the first-ever federal safety standards for transit systems nationwide to make them safe for the people who work on them and the people who ride on them in communities across the country."

"The Energy and Water bill we consider today provides $5.3 billion for the Corps of Engineers. The Corps dredges and maintains 25,000 miles of deep draft and inland navigation channels and ensures America’s ports are ready to ship our goods overseas. The bill keeps the commitment made in the Senate’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to increase funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The Corps helps prevent huge disaster recovery costs by investing in flood protection, and protects billions of dollars in infrastructure and countless jobs that depend on coastal economies.

"According to recent estimates from the Corps, beach replenishment has protected Ocean City from more than $700 million in damages, and saved Ocean City from Superstorm Sandy. And, of course, our ports need to be modernized now more than ever. The Corps’ dredging of the Port of Baltimore is a public investment that creates private sector jobs from the dock workers who unload the ships to the manufacturers who rely on cargo transported by the ships. It’s also crucial in preparing us for the bigger ships that will soon be sailing through the widened Panama Canal. The Energy and Water bill also invests in energy efficiency and renewable energy, so we can be a more energy-independent America. These investments make our country safer and our economy stronger."