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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Kuster Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging Funding for Northern Border Regional Commission

Sep 11, 2020
Press Release
**Rep. Kuster’s initiative to remove applicant matching fund requirements was included in legislation that passed the House in July **

Hopkinton, NH – Today, Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Chellie Pingree (ME-01) wrote to leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of continued funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) as Congress works to fund the government beyond September. In July, the House passed appropriations legislation that included NBRC provisions championed by these members—funding NBRC at $25 million for the 2021 fiscal year and stripping the 20% matching fund requirement for NBRC grantees in light of the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this letter, the members urge appropriators to ensure any stop gap measure is consistent with these provisions.  

“While the Commission has made great progress promoting economic development and job growth in our communities, continued federal investment in the NBRC is critical to sustaining its efforts,” the members wrote. “The NBRC is a strategic use of taxpayer dollars and leverages significant private capital for projects in our states. It is clear that we need to be encouraging economic and community development, and we commend the work of the subcommittees for their previous support to this vital program.”

“The [House Appropriations] Committee has recognized that it is imperative to temporarily lift the requirement that applicants to the NBRC provide twenty percent matching funds in order to be considered,” they continued. “In light of the significant economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no longer a reasonable expectation for grant recipients to raise significant capital, especially as traditional sources like municipalities and foundations are strained financially.”

Kuster has been an outspoken advocate for the NBRC since its inception, introducing bipartisan legislation in April to provide additional financial flexibility to the agency. As a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee and Agriculture Committee last Congress, Kuster advocated for the inclusion of language to strengthen and expand the NBRC and has been a leader in the effort to protect the agency, which has been targeted for elimination by President Trump. The NBRC has funded numerous projects championed by Kuster including economic development in downtown Claremont, constructing a new treatment facility at Bethlehem’s Friendship House, and improving water infrastructure in Bethlehem, Colebrook and Whitefield, among others.

Text of the letter can be found here, or below.

 

September 11, 2020

 

The Honorable Lamar Alexander                                                               The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

Chairman                                                                                                    Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Energy and Water                                                         Subcommittee on Energy and Water

Senate Committee on Appropriations                                                        Senate Committee on Appropriations

S-128, U.S. Capitol                                                                                     S-128, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20510                                                                               Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Marcy Kaptur                                                                      The Honorable Mike Simpson

Chairwoman                                                                                                 Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Energy and Water                                                           Subcommittee on Energy and Water

House Committee on Appropriations                                                           House Committee on Appropriations

H-307, U.S. Capitol                                                                                      H-307, U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20510                                                                                Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Feinstein, Chairwoman Kaptur and Ranking Member Simpson,

We are writing to thank you for your support for the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Investments from the NBRC have a demonstrated record of success; this funding has significantly improved the infrastructure and quality of life in rural parts of our states, spurring job creation, economic growth and community development.

As Congress looks towards a stop gap measure to fund the government, we request your committees continue to provide much needed investment in the NBRC’s important work. We appreciate House appropriators allocating $25 million for the NBRC in H.R. 7613, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, and would ask that the Commission be funded at a level consistent with or greater than that figure in any stop gap package.

We are also grateful for the inclusion of the following language in the committee report (H. Rept. 116-449) corresponding to the aforementioned legislation:

“Language has been included under General Provisions, section 606, waiving requirements relating to non-Federal cost-share grants and cooperative agreements for the Delta Regional Authority, the Northern Border Regional Commission, and the Denali Commission.”

In incorporating this language, the Committee has recognized that it is imperative to temporarily lift the requirement that applicants to the NBRC provide twenty percent matching funds in order to be considered. In light of the significant economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no longer a reasonable expectation for grant recipients to raise significant capital, especially as traditional sources like municipalities and foundations are strained financially. We therefore encourage you to also include this report language in any upcoming stop gap package.

As you know, the Commission has repeatedly received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress through robust appropriations and reauthorization of the program. Through the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-334), Congress extended the authorization of the NBRC for an additional five years, increased the appropriations authorization for the program, expanded its reach to additional counties throughout the region and established the State Capacity Building Grant Program, a new program to help develop projects that support business retention and expansion, access to high-speed broadband, critical infrastructure development and job creation throughout the region. Moreover, in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94), Congress included $25 million for the NBRC, including $750,000 for the State Capacity Building Grant Program.

While the Commission has made great progress promoting economic development and job growth in our communities, continued federal investment in the NBRC is critical to sustaining its efforts. The NBRC is a strategic use of taxpayer dollars and leverages significant private capital for projects in our states. It is clear that we need to be encouraging economic and community development, and we commend the work of the subcommittees for their previous support to this vital program.

We appreciate your consideration of this important request for funding and the above report language and look forward to working together to ensure the NBRC’s continued success.

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