House committee advances $137 billion transportation, housing bill

House committee advances $137 billion transportation, housing bill
© Greg Nash

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced a $137.1 billion spending bill covering transportation and housing, about $6 billion above current levels and $17.3 billion more than President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE's request.

The measure was approved in a 29-21 vote, divided mostly along party lines. The Trump administration had requested an $11 billion reduction in spending.

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“The Department of Transportation should prioritize safety, and this bill would equip the Department to fund safety upgrades on our roads and rails as well as safety research,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyGovernors air frustrations with Trump on unemployment plans It's past time to be rid of the legacy of Jesse Helms Helping our seniors before it's too late MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

The legislation would provide $75.8 billion in discretionary spending — $4.7 billion above current levels.

The bill would provide $86.6 billion to the Department of Transportation, a slight increase, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development would receive most of the $6 billion increase, bringing its funding to $50.1 billion.

The bill would block a public housing rule on undocumented immigrants from the administration that Democrats say would “threaten the housing tenure of 55,000 children who are citizens or legal residents.”

Republicans opposed the legislation largely on account of the overall dollar amount. They argued that appropriations bills should not move forward until the House, Senate and White House agree on a deal to raise statutory spending limits.

“It was drafted at a funding level that does not have broad consensus needed to be signed into law,” said Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerHelping our seniors before it's too late House approves .3 trillion spending package for 2021 GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor MORE (R-Texas), the ranking member on the committee.

GOP lawmakers unsuccessfully offered an amendment to reallocate funds from a California rail project, which Trump has said he would cancel.

California is suing the administration over the cancellation of $929 million for the project, alleging that the move was an attempt at political retribution over the state's stance on Trump’s proposed border wall.

Democrats plan to advance all 12 spending bills on the House floor this month, starting with a five-bill package next week.