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senate Bill S. 1243

Funding Housing and Transportation Agencies for FY2014

Argument in favor

This bill focuses funding on infrastructure and housing options that will grow the economy and protect vulnerable citizens. These investments are extensive, but well worth the long term benefits.

Argument opposed

This bill doesn’t adequately promote cost savings in the departments that receive funding. $54 billion is a lot of taxpayer money, and agencies need to be conservative with their spending.

What is Senate Bill S. 1243?

 This bill would authorize appropriations for the Departments of Transportation (DOT), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and related agencies for the 2014 fiscal year.

These related agencies include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), among others.

S. 1243 grants appropriations for costs from administration, operation, and management. Other agencies to be funded include the Office of Public and Indian Housing, the Office of Housing and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.


People who are directly and indirectly affected by the workings of federal housing, urban development, and transportation agencies, the employees in those agencies, taxpayers, and relevant congressional committees.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1243

$54.00 Billion
A CBO cost estimate of the bill is unavailable. However, an article in The Hill reports that this bill would authorize appropriations of up to $54 billion. The prior year’s Transportation and HUD appropriations bill authorized $51 billion in spending.

More Information


Highlights of this bill include:
Department of Transportation Appropriations

Prohibits the use of funds to issue regulations on the integration of unmanned aerial systems (drones) into the national airspace, until the Secretary reports to Congress on the privacy implications of drones.

The Secretary of Transportation would be authorized to lobby states and state legislators to consider proposals aimed at reducing motorcycle fatalities.

Directs the Transportation Secretary to evaluate and adjust existing current helicopter routes above Los Angeles if they would lessen impacts on residential areas and noise-sensitive landmarks. Additionally, the Secretary would be directed to:

  • Analyze whether helicopters could safely fly at higher altitudes in certain areas above Los Angeles.

  • Develop and promote best practices for helicopter hovering and electronic news gathering.

  • Work with local stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive noise complaint system.

  • Continue to participate in collaborative engagement between community representatives and helicopter operators.

The DOT’s Working Capital fund would be authorized to provide advanced payments to vendors who observe commuter benefits (the federal transit pass transportation fringe benefit program) for federal employees.

Declares that funds provided in S.1243 for Amtrak shall cease to be available to Amtrak if it contracts to provide service from any location outside the U.S. using an Amtrak employee who’s based in the U.S. Bars the use of funds to pay overtime costs in excess of $35,000 for any Amtrak employee. The president of Amtrak can waive this cap if it poses a risk to safety or operational efficiency of the Amtrak system.

Prohibits the availability of the funds in S. 1243 for salaries and expenses of more than 110 political and presidential appointees in DOT. Prohibits assignment of any such appointees on temporary detail outside DOT.

Bars recipients of funds made available in S. 1243 from disseminating personal information obtained by a state department of motor vehicles in connection with a motor vehicle record, except as permitted under federal criminal law.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations

Prohibits section eight housing assistance to any individual who is enrolled as a student at an institution of higher education, is under age 24, is not a veteran, is unmarried, has no dependent children, is not disabled, or is otherwise not eligible for assistance. Declares that any financial assistance for education purposes will be considered income as part of section eight eligibility, unless the applicant is over age 23 with dependent children.

Extends the authorization of appropriations for the demolition, site revitalization, replacement housing, and tenant-based assistance grants for severely distressed public housing projects. This is in addition to grants for assisting affordable housing developed through main street projects in smaller communities.

Prohibits the use of funds during FY2014 to investigate or prosecute under the Fair Housing Act any otherwise lawful activity. This includes the filing or maintaining of a non-frivolous legal action to prevent or achieve action by a government official or entity.

Makes funds available for legal services and payment for services and facilities provided to the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Financing Bank, Federal Reserve banks, Federal home Loan banks, and any bank insured under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Act.

Requires public housing agencies (PHAs) to establish a flat rental amount for dwelling units at levels no lower that 80% of the applicable fair market rental established under S. 1243. This requirement shall not be construed to require rental amounts to be set equal to 80% of the fair market rental in years when market rental rates decrease. Requires the base pay for PHA employees to be based on the Federal General Schedule, including locality adjustment.

Authorizes the HUD Secretary to insure and enter into home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs or reverse mortgages) for elderly homeowners.

Defines “extremely low-income families” as families whose incomes do not exceed the higher of:

  • Specified poverty guidelines updated periodically by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or

  • 30% of the median family income for the area, with adjustments for smaller and larger families. Authorizes the Secretary to establish income ceilings higher or lower than 30% if necessary because of unusually high or low family incomes.

Appropriations for Other Agencies

Prohibits the use of funds to support any federal, state, or local projects that seek to use the power of eminent domain, unless eminent domain is employed only for a public use.

Prohibits the use of funds to enter into a contract, memorandum of understanding, or cooperative agreement with, make a grant to, or provide a loan or loan guarantee to any corporation that was convicted of a felony in the past 24 months. Applies when the awarding agency is aware of the conviction. This prohibition is also extended to corporations with unpaid federal taxes. An agency would be allowed to make such an award if it has:

  • Considered suspension or debarment of the corporation.

  • Determined that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the government.

Prohibits any expenditure of funds appropriated under this Act by an entity unless that entity agrees to comply with Buy American requirements. Prohibits the availability of funds to any person or entity that has been convicted of violating Buy American requirements.


The Hill

The Week in Congress

White House Statement of Administration Policy (In Favor)

Reason Foundation (Partially Opposed)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Boston Public Library)


Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Official Title

An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Appropriations
    IntroducedJune 27th, 2013

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