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Appropriations season is here and we need your help
Matthew Mullin   on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution until March 23rd. Full-year appropriations are likely forthcoming in the form of an omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2018. We need your help to make sure EDA receives support in the current and next fiscal years – a debate which is taking place right now. There are three calls to action below.

Where we stand now

Congress passed a two-year budget deal earlier this year that significantly increased defense and non-defense discretionary spending limits, effectively eliminating the budget caps previously in place. Tucked away in this deal was $600 million for EDA to lead the way in helping communities impacted by disaster last year recover and rebuild. All of this is, in theory, very good news for EDA and other federal economic development programs.

What happens next

Congress still has not passed full-year appropriations for the current fiscal year. Individually, the House and Senate moved two bills on EDA funding; the former passed the House and the later passed out of committee but has not been brought to the Senate floor. The White House request included a small amount of funding to provide for an orderly shutdown of the agency. As you can see, there significant variation between funding levels.

  • House: $175 million for fiscal 2018
  • Senate: $254 million for fiscal 2018
  • White House: $30 million for fiscal 2018 (to fund an orderly shutdown of the agency)

For the current fiscal year, there remains a possibility for significant cuts to EDA despite the fact that Congress appropriated $600 million in disaster supplemental funding. EDA must still engage in their day-to-day work helping to build stronger, more resilient economies using their annual appropriation, completely separate from their work in disaster recovery. We cannot take for granted that Congress will take action to fully fund EDA in the current year. We need your help:

  • Reach out to your Members of Congress and ask them to support EDA in coming omnibus
  • Thank them for their support of EDA’s role in disaster recovery; the $600 million in critical funding will do so much good across the country!
  • Remind them that EDA has a day-to-day role in local and regional job creation that needs strong funding
  • EDA was funded at $276 million in fiscal 2017 and urge them to provide at least level funding with last year

For fiscal year 2019, it will be much the same. The White House, despite themselves requesting $300 million in disaster supplemental funding for EDA, included only $15 million in funding for EDA.

The House and the Senate will soon begin to consider their spending bills for fiscal 2019. We are urging funding at least level with fiscal 2017 for EDA -- $276 million. We’re asking you to consider adding your name to this letter.

IEDC and our partners at the Ridge Policy Group will compile the letters by Member of Congress and leadership office and disseminate them accordingly. With your voice and leadership, EDA and other critical federal economic development programs will have their best chance for surviving the continued attack on their funding.

Come to Washington

Finally, the 2018 FED Forumhttps://www.iedcevents.org/FEDForum/Registration.html is taking place at the end of next month. Regular registration has been extended until March 9th, though the hotel is filling up fast! While much of the news that is coming out of Washington is negative and seems focused on anything but economic development, the FED Forum will bring focus to myriad programs, policies, and best practices that can help you in your community still. Some highlights include:

  • Infrastructure! We’ve got a proposal of sorts from the White House and bipartisan agreement in Congress that something must be done. Economic developers must be engaged right now in order to secure our priorities in whatever bill or bills may come.
  • Manufacturing programs throughout the federal government continue to support areas ranging from workforce, to R&D, to tech transfer, to basic science. We’ve got a great panel put together that you won’t want to miss.
  • ‘A city boy’ and a ‘small town girl’ will take us on a journey (get it?) to key offerings in economic development for cities and rural communities. As many of these programs have experienced and continue to experience changes in the last year, it is more important than ever to connect with federal officials and experts.
  • Keynote from Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs from EDA, during our luncheon on Monday, which will also feature our annual awards presentation for federal leadership in economic development.
  • Volunteering, networking, touring, laughing and pancakes: all of these will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the FED Forum. We’ll cap-off Sunday with FED Talks, where we turn the mic over to you and your colleagues for enlightening entertaining discussions on how the federal government is, and isn’t working for you.
  • While you’re here, spend some time visiting with your staff contacts on the Hill. Congress will be in recess that week – probably – which means it is the best time to connect and reconnect with staff in personal offices and committee offices.

In conclusion:

  • Call your Member of Congress and tell them you need EDA and ask for their support for them in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill.
  • Sign-on to our letter supporting EDA in the coming fiscal 2019 spending
  • Register for the FED Forum! Learn the latest and offer your perspective.

IEDC was very pleased with the inclusion of EDA in the disaster supplemental. This victory would not have been possible without your direct support and intervention!  A modest sigh of relief is warranted, but that is all. We must continue to urge support for EDA. We need your help.

Join us at the FED Forum next month. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Mullin, Senior Director, Public Policy & Strategic Engagement at mmullin@iedconline.org