McHenry To Democrats: We’re Here Today Because Your Priorities Are Being Cut and You’re Angry About It
October 21, 2021 -
Read Republican Leader McHenry’s remarks as prepared for delivered:
“Madam Chair, today marks the second housing hearing in less than a week.
“Since Democrats took control of the House, our Committee has held 31 hearings on housing, 14 of which were full Committee hearings.
“Look, we all know housing is an important issue. I will remind the Chair that it was Republicans who raised the alarm about the Biden Administration’s mismanagement and incompetence in delivering emergency rental assistance.
“Republicans gave the legislative solution and then Democrats attempted to follow. But Democrats rejected our efforts to help struggling renters every step of the way.
“Instead, you’ve been busy working on President Biden’s partisan Build Back Better agenda. So, let’s talk about how that’s going.
“This summer, Chair Waters released a statement announcing she had secured a commitment from President Biden to include her housing provisions in Build Back Better.
“This was followed up by a package of bills expanding federal housing programs to the tune of $600 billion dollars.
“Then the committee met to produce the actual legislative package for President Biden’s agenda. The amount spent on housing? $325 billion dollars. So, where did the $300 billion go? Why did some ideas get left on the cutting room floor? I don’t know. Actually, it was not said publicly. Republicans have not been included in any of these private meetings Democrats are holding amongst themselves, nor have we had any hearings on that cutting of $300 billion.
“So, with no explanation as to why the majority’s housing proposal was cut in half, Democrats reported the bill out of committee on a partisan vote.
“Now, today, after Chair Waters and Senator Brown had a press conference yesterday demanding more money for housing, there is a report that the Administration has cut to $100 billion overnight. I don’t know if that is a result of the press conference or not. I don’t know if that is a result of this hearing. I don’t see other Committees having hearings like this about Democrat provisions being cut by Democrats.
“Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: a Democrat controlled White House is cutting Democrat provisions from a Democrat bill written by Democrats to try and wrangle enough Democratic votes to pass it. You can’t make this stuff up.
“So, let’s just be honest about why we’re here today. You’re worried about getting your priorities axed.
“I cannot imagine how frustrating that is. Wouldn’t it be helpful for us to hear from the people actually running this show? Wouldn’t that be helpful? Instead, we have good people here telling us compelling stories.
“And this is not to be disrespectful to any of the witnesses, your stories are important for us to hear. The struggles you face are real and deserve answers. But we should invite the people actually making this decision here, not my Democratic colleagues on the Committee. By the way at gavel, Chairwoman Waters was the only Democrat here in the room. That’s how much of a priority this seems to be. Now we have a few on the screen.
“But why don’t we invite the people making this decision? Why don’t we invite Senator Manchin to tell us what’s going to be in this bill? Why don’t we invite Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sanders to tell us what’s going to be in this bill?
“We know it’s being written on the fly. We know you’re not interested in Republican votes. We know your provisions are being cut left and right and you’re angry about it. But why are you inviting Republicans to this family food fight you’re having amongst yourselves? And why aren’t we focused on the priorities of the American people, rather than shoveling out more government spending?
“So, Chairwoman Waters said earlier this month, ‘this is our once in a generation opportunity to invest in our housing programs’ and ‘if we don’t expand our housing programs in this budget reconciliation bill, we never will.’ I’m not going to share my opinion about that, but I want to make sure that’s in the record today.
“With that, I yield back.”
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