WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today led a hearing to examine state and local perspectives on reauthorization of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).  



“Despite all of the exceptional work that EDA has done in every one of our states, the agency has not been reauthorized by Congress since 2004—that’s about 20 years. And two decades is too long for an agency with such an important mission to go without renewed authorization. Let’s think about the many ways that our workforce and our economy have changed since 2004. Just to mention a few, we have witnessed technological advances that have transformed the way that we live, the way that we work, and even the way that we travel. We have also seen significant changes in manufacturing, in energy production, and in products we use on a daily basis … Through reauthorization, we have an opportunity to modernize and improve EDA’s ability to foster additional economic growth.”


“I’ve also had the opportunity to witness firsthand EDA’s work in my home state of Delaware, and I’m sure that many of our colleagues on this committee can cite chapter and verse on experiences of their own. For example … EDA helped fund a Center for Automotive Excellence at the Delaware Technical Community College in Sussex County … This center has helped us fill a need for trained automotive technicians to work not just at our auto dealerships up and down the state but also to maintain the heavy-duty trucks that are vital to our poultry industry … Delaware also received funding from EDA to help our travel and tourism sector—one of our states largest economic drivers—during the pandemic.”


Senator Tom Carper:

“EDA’s Public Works Program helps distressed communities upgrade and build physical infrastructure, as you know. Due to the climate crisis, low-lying places like Miami-Dade County and my own state of Delaware … are under threat due to rising sea levels and an increased frequency of extreme weather events that we see all too often. Commissioner Higgins, do you think there are opportunities for EDA to maybe do more to incorporate climate resiliency into its public works program?”

Eileen Higgins, Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners, District 5, Miami Dade County”

“I certainly think it should be considered and this would be another case where perhaps EDA can collaborate with other programs that exist. For example, in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act there is funding available for raising off-system bridges to be more accommodating to rising seas, to looking at improvements that make not only coastal communities but communities across America to things like flooding. So yes, public works right now, we should be thinking … about what we need to be building to make sure our communities are more resilient in the face of a changing climate and in the face of a changing workforce and economic conditions.”

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s first round of questions.

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s second round of questions.

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s opening statement.