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Conference Agreement Drops Language Urging EDA to Support Defense Communities

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  • November 15, 2011
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A House-Senate conference committee hashing out differences between the two chambers’ versions of three fiscal 2012 spending bills ditched language urging the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide support to defense communities affected by BRAC closures or mission growth through its various economic development assistance programs.

The language had been included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s report accompanying the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill, S. Rpt. 112-78, but it was not in the House’s version.

The language could have given closure and growth communities a boost in obtaining EDA funds as it encouraged the agency “to provide the most efficient and effective assistance to defense growth communities and communities impacted by closures based on urgency and level of need.” The Senate committee had directed EDA to issue guidance clarifying the requirements for community assistance it provides to growth and closure communities. The lawmakers also requested EDA to modify its definition of “special need” to specify that growth and closure communities are eligible for agency funding.

The conference committee completed the agreement Monday on the first three-bill “minibus” spending package for FY 2012. In addition to Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations, the package includes funding for Agriculture and Transportation-HUD.

The package also contains a continuing resolution extending FY 2012 funds for the rest of the government through Dec. 16. The two chambers are expected to approve the spending package by Friday, when the current stopgap runs out.

The minibus cuts funding for EDA’s economic development assistance programs by $25.5 million to $220 million, compared to last year. Congress allocated the agency an additional $200 million in economic development assistance for disaster relief, however.

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