STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN H. CHAFEE
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HEARING ON THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION (EDA)
AND S. 1647, THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP ACT
July 14, 1998

I want to thank the distinguished chairman of the Subcommittee for holding this hearing today.

I am pleased to welcome Secretary Daley and Assistant Secretary Singerman, as well as our second panel of witnesses, to the Subcommittee this morning. Their testimony will be very helpful as the full Committee considers whether and how to reauthorize the Economic Development Administration.

As we all know, EDA has not been reauthorized since 1982. Although the Environment and Public Works Committee did report a bill late in 1994, it did not clear the Senate and did not end up becoming law.

As Chairman of the full Committee, I should be upfront about my stance on EDA: the fact is, I historically have not been a big fan of the EDA. In fact, in 1985 I sponsored an amendment to eliminate the agency.

But in recent years, I have taken notice of the changes at the agency and its efforts to streamline its operations and target its efforts to truly distressed communities. I have come to believe that we should move forward with a reauthorization bill that locks in some of the changes that the agency has undertaken.

Therefore, over the past few weeks I have been reviewing S. 1647 (the legislation before us today), and my staff has been working intensively with the EDA staff to develop a bipartisan, common-sense substitute that can pass the Senate. I hope to circulate that draft to all members this week. It will not be easy to enact an EDA reauthorization bill this year, but I will do what I can to get it done.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses.