Senate Committee Advances Padilla Bills to Strengthen Economic Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) advanced three bills that U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) led as part of the bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the first time in nearly 20 years. The Padilla bills included in the package that passed out of committee include the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act, the Economic Empowerment Through Predevelopment Act, and the University Centers for Growth, Development, and Prosperity (GDP) Act.

“The Economic Development Administration is a crucial partner in fostering job growth and innovation, stimulating infrastructure development, and helping communities build back from disasters,” said Senator Padilla. “My bills that advanced through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will ensure EDA has the necessary tools and resources to deliver for underserved, low-income, rural, disaster-stricken, and Tribal communities. This is a major step toward building more inclusive and efficient pathways toward economic growth.”

  • The Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act (Padilla/Boozman) would formalize EDA’s role in supporting short- and long-term economic recovery efforts in communities impacted by natural disasters.
  • The Economic Empowerment Through Predevelopment Act (Padilla/Cassidy/Carter/Graves) would authorize EDA to make grants or cooperative agreements for early-stage project development activities to support communities that otherwise may be unable to compete for larger state and federal grants.
  • The University Centers for Growth Development and Prosperity (GDP) Act (Padilla/Aguilar) would codify the EDA program that leverages assets of higher-learning institutions to strengthen regional economic growth by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation.

The Economic Development Reauthorization Act includes additional provisions championed by Padilla, such as the establishment of an Office of Tribal Economic Development to ensure proper representation and dedicated assistance for Tribal communities, the reauthorization of the Southwest Border Regional Commission to foster economic development and basic infrastructure needs in disadvantaged border communities, and support for water workforce development to address ongoing needs in California.

Full text of the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act is available here.

Full text of the Economic Empowerment Through Predevelopment Act is available here.

Full text of the University Centers for GDP Act is available here.

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