Today we are holding a hearing on Oversight of the Economic Development Administration.

Created during the Johnson Administration, the Economic Development Administration has a long history of helping economically distressed communities foster the jobs and businesses necessary to maintain strong, healthy communities.

From providing funding for water and sewer improvements to helping manufacturers and producers become more competitive in a global marketplace, the Economic Development Administration provides valuable assistance to communities across our nation. And, it's cost effective.

EDA has an especially important role to play in these challenging economic times.

When the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development (Benjamin Erulkar) testified before this Committee in September, he stated that from fiscal year 2004 to 2008, EDA awarded over $1.29 billion in investments which were expected to create 392,413 jobs at an average cost of $2,507 per job.

Not only is EDA providing Federal funding that creates jobs, these Federal dollars spur large amounts of private sector investment. According to EDA, over the same 2004 to 2008 time frame, for every $1 in Federal funding EDA invested in communities, about $33 in private sector investment was created.

Congress recognized EDA's unique role in job creation and economic development by providing its Economic Development Assistance Programs with $150 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). I look forward to hearing today about how those funds have been distributed and how ARRA is helping EDA address needs in communities across the nation.

Similarly, Congress provided EDA with a total of $500 million in natural disaster assistance through supplemental appropriations in fiscal years 2008 and 2009. I look forward to hearing today about how these funds are being used to support long-term post disaster economic recovery in response to hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

EDA's authorization expired at the end of September 2008, but the agency has been able to continue operating through the appropriation of funds. This Committee intends to reauthorize EDA and to work to ensure it has the resources necessary to fulfill its mission in the future.

Thank you to the witnesses for being here today. I look forward to hearing your testimony.