"Thank you Chairwoman Titus. This is the first time in several years that this committee has met to look specifically at the
"Operating in communities devastated by foreign competition, factory closure, military base closure, natural resource depletion, prolonged unemployment, or natural disaster, the EDA is truly an economic lifeline. This is particularly true for the city of
"The loss of the logging industry on federal forestland and declining fishery stocks have plagued large swaths of my southwestern
"Consequently, an emerging crisis on the southern
"In 2013, the college began fundraising and planning for a new science and health technology center that will allow it to increase its enrollment by nearly 50% immediately and eventually nearly triple the program size over time.
"The college spent several years fundraising and received more private donations than anyone expected possible in such a small and economically distressed community. However, despite their best efforts, the college still did not have enough funding to build its new health and technology center. Just as administrators were preparing to give up, the EDA awarded the college a
"The EDA grant provided the absolute last dollars needed to fund the project that had been fundraising for six years. Without this funding, the college was unsure if or how the project would move forward and the residents of
"This story is exemplary of the work that EDA does. They come into communities that are barely hanging on and provide a lifeline to help turn the local economy around. EDA provides hope where there has otherwise been little cause for optimism. Much of EDA's work occurs in rural areas. In fact, historically, about two-thirds of EDA funding has been awarded to rural areas.
"For this reason, I find it perplexing that the
"Cutting the EDA is counterproductive and disproportionately hurts private sector job growth and small, rural communities. Instead, we should be working to reauthorize and provide more funding for the agency.
"That is why I look forward to working with Chair Titus and my colleagues across the aisle on a comprehensive reauthorization of the EDA.
"I thank our witnesses for taking time out of their busy schedules to appear before our Committee to discuss this often over looked, but promising agency. I yield back the balance of my time."
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"Good afternoon. I want to welcome everyone to the first hearing of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee in the 116th
"I want to recognize the Ranking Member,
"Additionally, I want to welcome back Dr.
"Today's hearing will take a closer look at a federal agency that delivers one of the greatest returns on investment to the American taxpayer: the
"Our witnesses today will highlight some local examples of how EDA's grant programs have facilitated large-scale economic revitalization and transition in communities that have been in distress. Further, we will explore EDA's important role in disaster recovery and look ahead to how EDA can respond to emerging changes in our country's workforce.
"Created in 1965 by the Public Works and Economic Development Act, the EDA has, for the last 54 years, been the only federal agency specifically dedicated to local and regional economic development.
"The EDA serves as a clearinghouse for economic development in the federal government and plays a critical role in coordinating federal economic development programs.
"With a wide variety of grant programs including planning, public works, trade assistance, economic adjustment, and innovation, EDA provides needed funding to economically distressed communities to strengthen their local business environment, ensure job creation, and fuel sustainable economic growth.
"In both its application process and annual reports to
"Despite a comparatively small
"These grants, which are awarded only to communities facing significant economic distress, are a lifeline and oftentimes the only source of economic development funding available. EDA grants provide additional capacity, technical and strategic expertise, and targeted infrastructure investments that are guaranteed to preserve or attract new jobs.
"EDA has been front and center in responding to massive economic changes brought on by industry failure, trade competition, and persistent unemployment.
"Through its trade adjustment assistance for firms program, EDA works with
"Public Works grants help communities make targeted infrastructure investments like sewer or water access, rail spurs, and roadways to prepare sites for new industry or expanded industry operations.
"In addition to its foundational economic development mission, EDA plays an integral role in helping communities recover from disasters. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and winter storms are enormously disruptive events that continue to have an impact well after the storm has passed and debris has been cleared.
"These resources provide some of the only economic development focused disaster assistance and are crucial to helping communities return to normal after a major event.
"After the first responders have left, EDA stays on the ground to help put together the pieces of an economy fractured by natural or other disasters. It helps create economic development plans, provides revolving loans, and fortifies infrastructure to ensure that companies wiped out by disaster return to their communities and are resilient to future disaster events.
"Each disaster is different and the needs following disasters are equally diverse. Fortunately, EDA funds are flexible enough within their mission driven purpose to apply to the unique circumstances each community has faced.
"Whether it is protecting a manufacturing facility from flooding, creating a small business development center in a fire-ravaged town, or rebuilding a boat manufacturer following a tornado, EDA grants have brought prosperity and recovery to communities hardest hit by natural disasters.
"The disaster recovery role, while funded through sporadic appropriations, is just as central to the EDA's mission as its continually-appropriated programs.
"I hope that after today's hearing, you will join me in seeing the vitality and importance of the
"Despite its sterling record of accomplishment, the EDA has been operating for the last eleven years on expired authorization. Even worse, this Administration has proposed in each of its last three budgets to eliminate the EDA altogether.
"I look forward to furthering that discussion in today's hearing and learning from our witnesses. I now recognize the Ranking Member,
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Chair Titus's remarks as delivered can be found here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9wK603PnMg).
Chair DeFazio's remarks as delivered can be found here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVF5wvps1w)