|Text of Davis' opening statement:
Good afternoon and thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. Today’s hearing is on an important project that needs more attention. I’m thankful for the chair calling this hearing and for the bipartisan and collaborative work that our teams are engaged on to ensure the Cannon House Building renewal is successful.
Looking back at the start of this project, it is without question that Cannon needed to be renovated. Built over a century ago, the building posed several health, safety, and operational risks, but beyond that, it also needed a facelift to accommodate a more modern Congress. It needed new wiring, technological capabilities, and space. Walking through the finished Phase 1 and 2 corridors, the contrast with the original layouts, lighting, and function is stark. Additionally, as many of you know and as I’m sure we will learn more about today, part of Cannon’s facelift includes the addition of a full fifth floor of offices. This will expand its capacity for staff and committee space – an expansion that we need even more today than we knew back when the project first began.
Capitol Campus construction is about as bipartisan a topic as you can find, and Cannon’s completion will benefit everyone – from freshmen to leadership, Democrats to Republicans.
Although there has been much success with the Cannon construction project with the completion of phases zero through two, there have also been challenges and I’ll be the first to emphasize how unforeseeable some of these have been. The pandemic has caused a number of these challenges, including struggles with labor, supply shortage, and cost increases. I know how difficult this has been so let me say thank you to you and your teams for all you’ve done to keep the train on the tracks during this unprecedented time.
However, there are also a number of these challenges that, as the title of this hearing highlights, have presented lessons that we need to reflect on and learn from. Phases three and four of the project are difficult ones that right now, I’m not sure how they will possibly be completed on time and according to my latest numbers, the full project is nearly $137.5 million over budget.
In 2019, when our committee last held a hearing on the Cannon Renewal Project, I laid out the following priorities: improved transparency, better coordination with stakeholders including CAO and USCP, and completing the project on time and on budget.
Two years later, these remain my greatest points of emphasis that I hope you continue to take seriously and work to fulfill. However, I’m going to emphasize one additional priority: to be more responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars. That means additional emphasis placed on how our contracts are managed, what equitable adjustments are paid, and the insistence that the quality of work being done will stand the test of time.
I look forward to discussing that path forward with you today.
Madam Chair, I yield back.