Senate Appropriators Urge EDA to Support Growth, Closure Communities
The Senate Appropriations Committee is urging the Department of Commerce’s 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 committee encourages EDA to provide the most efficient and effective assistance to defense growth communities and communities impacted by closures based on urgency and level of need,” lawmakers wrote in their report accompanying the fiscal 2012 commerce-justice-science spending bill approved earlier this month.
The panel directed the agency to issue guidance clarifying the requirements for community assistance it provides to growth and closure communities. EDA also should modify its definition of “special need” to specify that growth and closure communities are eligible for agency funding, according to the committee report.
Finally, the Appropriations Committee directed the agency to consider defense communities undergoing growth or closure in selecting candidates for its new Regional Innovation Program. That initiative is intended to create regional innovation clusters, geographic concentrations of firms and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, and infrastructure.
The committee recommended allocating $355 million for economic development assistance programs in FY 2012, a $109 million jump over the current year. The administration had asked for $284 million.
The committee report, S. Rpt. 112-78, is available from Thomas.