Economic Development Administration reauthorized by Senate committee, goes full body

22 March 2024- Last week, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman voted to advance the bill that would reauthorize the Economic Development Administration (EDA) out of the Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee. The bipartisan bill, which would reauthorize the EDA for the first time in nearly 20 years, included key provisions to benefit Pennsylvania.

“The Economic Development Administration is long overdue for an update and reauthorization,” said Senator Fetterman. “This EDA reauthorization includes huge wins for communities across the commonwealth — especially former steel and coal communities too often overlooked by leaders in D.C. I was proud to push for changes to make sure we are investing federal dollars into these forgotten communities.” 

The EDA Reauthorization that was passed out of the EPW Committee included an authorization of the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. The program is designed to offer financial support to regions that have experienced adverse economic changes. Specifically, the program provides eligible communities grants for planning, infrastructure improvements, site acquisition, construction, and rehab projects. Senator Fetterman advocated for and secured a change to the program so that former steel communities will be designated for particular community assistance, which will allow EDA to prioritize steel communities when considering applications to this program and ensure these communities get these much-needed federal dollars. This bill would also formally authorize the Assistance to Coal Communities program, which means that the EAA program will include a consistent annual set-aside for coal communities.

The EDA Reauthorization bill also creates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Commission, which would ensure that every county in Pennsylvania include every county in Pennsylvania not previously included in the Appalachian Regional Commission to ensure that every Pennsylvania community as the resources of a regional commission. Regional commissions each receive between $20-$200 million dollars in annual appropriations which they then use to create grants that can be responsive to local needs.

This bill to reauthorize the EDA will now go to the whole Senate floor for a vote.