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Chair DeFazio Urges Economic Development Administration to Assist Businesses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Mar 18, 2020
Press Release

Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fleming requesting that Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs respond as quickly as possible to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our American citizens are bravely facing the challenges of this pandemic and responsibly protecting themselves and each other by following the directions of public health authorities and staying home. As you know, this has caused many businesses to close, laying off or furloughing workers, and has disrupted the supply chain globally,” Chair DeFazio wrote. “Given the urgency of this crisis and the unparalleled economic damage, we request that you take measures within your authority to ensure that Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs are available to respond as quickly as possible.”

Specifically, Chair DeFazio urged EDA to allow businesses impacted by the pandemic to apply for EDA grants under the Public Works and Economic Development Act; increase the federal share of grants given in response to COVID-19 to the maximum allowable amount; and provide greater flexibility to existing grantees who are impacted by COVID-19 related staffing issues.

To read the full letter, click here or see below.

The Honorable John C. Fleming, M.D.
Assistant Secretary 
Economic Development Administration 
U.S. Department of Commerce 
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW 
Suite 71014 
Washington, DC 20230 

Dear Dr. Fleming:

We write you in response to the health and economic crisis facing our country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our American citizens are bravely facing the challenges of this pandemic and responsibly protecting themselves and each other by following the directions of public health authorities and staying home. As you know, this has caused many businesses to close, laying off or furloughing workers, and has disrupted the supply chain globally.

Given the urgency of this crisis and the unparalleled economic damage, we request that you take measures within your authority to ensure that Economic Development Administration (EDA) programs are available to respond as quickly as possible. Specifically, we urge the EDA to create eligibilities that allow businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for EDA grants under the Public Works and Economic Development Act. Further, we ask that you increase the federal share of grants given in response to COVID-19 to the maximum allowable amount. In addition to these measures, we encourage EDA to provide greater flexibility to existing grantees who are impacted by COVID-19 related staffing issues.

The EDA is a key player in U.S. economic growth, and its work will be vital to the Nation’s recovery. We hope that you take this action immediately to provide as much relief as possible to current grantees and those who need resources to make it through these challenging times.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Peter A. DeFazio                                 Dina Titus

Chair                                                    Chairwoman,

Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management