WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted today, Thursday, January 10 to reopen key federal agencies to support local transportation projects and help ensure people can stay in their homes. Larsen voted in support of two appropriations bills, the Fiscal Year 2019 Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill and the Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
“Congress’ number one priority right now must be reopening the government, putting people back to work and giving federal workers and contractors the back pay to which they are entitled,” said Larsen.
The Fiscal Year 2019 THUD appropriations bill would reopen the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Reopening the Department of Transportation will ensure Washington’s infrastructure and transportation projects continue without consequence to the thousands of Second District residents who rely on these services,” said Larsen, the only member of the Washington state delegation on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill would reopen the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration and fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Child Nutrition Programs.
“The partial government shutdown has placed an undue burden on the more than 34,000 households in Washington’s Second District using food stamps to put dinner on the table each night,” said Larsen. “Reopening USDA and the FDA will help ensure the nearly one in eight people in Washington state who suffer from food insecurity have food on the table each night.”
Potential Impacts to Washington’s Second District Residents
Continues Distribution of Housing and Urban Development Funding: The THUD appropriations bill would reopen HUD and ensure people living in HUD housing are not evicted. During the shutdown, the approval of HUD applications has stalled. Continued delays would impact projects across the District like Bellingham Housing Authority’s Section 18 Demolition and Disposition application and Skagit County’s HOME program. Eases the Strain on the Aviation Workforce: The THUD appropriations bill would reopen Department of Transportation and ensure the safety of the traveling public. During the shutdown, frontline personnel like Air Traffic Controllers are working without pay. In addition, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety officials tasked with inspecting and certifying aircrafts and aviation infrastructure are furloughed. This bill will provide them with the pay to which they are entitled.
Supports Local Transit Projects: The THUD appropriations bill would also ensure local transportation projects are funded on time, like Community Transit’s Green Line bus rapid transit project. Construction on the Seaway Transit Center began last year and will be the north hub for the Green Line, scheduled to open for service early this year.
Funds USDA Rural Housing Vouchers: The Agriculture appropriations bill would reopen USDA and help ensure payments on rental assistance and housing vouchers for low- and extremely low-income tenants continue. Two-thirds of extremely-low income residents in Washington state spend more than 30 percent of income on housing costs. These people depend on rental assistance and vouchers to continue putting a roof over their heads.
Protects SNAP benefits: The Agriculture appropriations bill funds SNAP and helps ensure families do not lose their SNAP benefits. More than 34,000 households in Washington’s Second District rely on SNAP benefits to put dinner on the table each night.
Ensures Timely Operations at Food Banks: The Agriculture appropriations bill would reopen USDA and provide funding for emergency food assistance distributors, like Bellingham Food Bank in Washington’s Second District. A shutdown impacts their operations and ability to transport, distribute and store food.