Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. As someone who is a Member of both the Banking and the Armed Services Committees in addition to this Committee, I have a great interest in the work that the Economic Development Administration does. The Economic Development Administration does important work in many economic sectors throughout the county in communities large and small.
As we are aware, the House has already passed a bill reauthorizing the Economic Development Administration. There are some positive changes in that bill, but there are also portions that deserve a second look. That is at least part of what we are doing here today.
The Economic Development Administration is in charge of a budget of around $300 million. While that is a lot of money to pretty much every individual person in this room, it is quite a small amount in the scheme of the entire federal budget. However, even with such a modest investment, the EDA is able to leverage many times over that amount in private funds with every dollar that they spend. I think that deserves praise.
As a Member of the Banking Committee, and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Mass Transit I get to see a lot of projects that aim to bring about redevelopment in communities around the country. The projects that are most successful are those that bring federal and private funds together. There will never be enough federal dollars to fund every project that someone deems worthy, by bringing in private funds which, in turn, guarantee private sector involvement, the EDA is setting communities and organizations with partners that help them to succeed on their own. The need for perpetual federal funding is just not there with this kind of arrangement.
Mr. Chairman, again I thank you for bringing the EDA, and the projects that they help fund, to the forefront of the Committee’s attention. After reviewing the witness testimony I look forward to a productive discussion on the issue of why and how the Economic Development Administration’s reauthorization will move forward.