U.S. Economic Development Administration Applauds President Obama for Making Tough Choices & Smart Investments in FY 2012 Budget Proposal
February 14, 2011
Contact: Cleve Mesidor, (202) 482-4085
Budget Invests $40 Million in EDA to Strengthen Economic 'Growth Zones' in America's Regions
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) today applauds President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2012 Budget proposal for investing in what makes America stronger and cutting what we cannot afford. The President's proposal invests $40 million in EDA to develop a new Regional Innovation Program targeting 'Growth Zones' to foster collaboration across the federal government to build regional innovation clusters based upon the inherent strengths of local communities. EDA is the only agency in the federal government with the exclusive mission to help create and retain jobs and leverage private investment in the nation's regions.
"The U.S. Economic Development Administration plays an important role in the national agenda to enhance America's long-term competitiveness and spur job creation," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. "While sacrifices are needed to put the country on a fiscally sustainable path, we are confident that the investments President Obama has proposed for EDA for FY 2012 will jumpstart our efforts to accelerate regional economic growth and help the United States win the future."
The new Regional Innovation Program included in the FY 2012 proposal is outlined in the recent reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act and will play a critical role in supporting EDA's efforts to foster regional innovation clusters, promote the export potential of America's regions, and encourage the development of a 21st century innovation infrastructure. The multi-agency initiative will support a nationwide competition encouraging communities across the nation to develop and implement regional strategies that build on assets and link to drivers of regional economic growth to stimulate job creation, business expansion and entrepreneurship, and regional prosperity. The 20 strongest strategic plans will be funded by EDA.
Focused on fiscal discipline, the President's budget eliminates the U.S. Department of Commerce's Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program. In assessing how government can be smarter and leaner, the administration determined that the EDA can better coordinate this assistance through its regional offices. The Commerce Department as a whole is well positioned to address the issues faced by firms impacted by foreign trade, and EDA's Economic Adjustment Assistance program - which receives an increase of $46.3 million in the FY 2012 budget - will support these firms as well. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is flexible and provides a wide range of technical, planning, and public works and infrastructure assistance to regions experiencing adverse economic changes that occur suddenly or over time.
Over the last year, EDA has taken significant steps to make the agency leaner, smarter and more efficient. It underwent a comprehensive reorganization to remove barriers to success and developed new regional strategies that will put the U.S. economy on stronger footing. The department's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is now housed within EDA, which works to build vibrant ecosystems that support and promote innovation and entrepreneurship and accelerate the commercialization of new ideas from the lab to the marketplace. Last October, EDA also announced several important changes to its grant application and review process to ensure it is as efficient, transparent and competitive as possible.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov): The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.