Appropriations Vice Chair Leahy Wins Significant Increase In Funding For Economic Development In Vermont Border Counties

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Thursday that a package of appropriations bills approved by the Senate includes $20 million in Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant funding, a $5 million increase over the previous year. 

The grants are part of a continuing effort, long supported by Leahy, to revitalize communities in Northern Vermont. It included an increase of $1 million, for a total $4 million, for a second year of funding to support the needs of forest based economies.  These needs range from support for the wood products industry, to increased investment in outdoor recreation and regional marketing efforts for travel and tourism. 

The NBRC awards grants in Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans counties in Vermont.  The grants are often leveraged with matching grants that significantly boost their impact.  Past NBRC grants have supported a wide variety of projects, from co-working spaces in the Northeast Kingdom to business park investments in Fairfax that will allow a maple products business to expand. 

Senator Leahy said:  “The NBRC is a catalyst for advancing community investments and initiatives across the Northeast Kingdom and northern regions of Vermont.  By increasing funding for this program to historic levels, we are investing in rural Vermont communities looking to revitalize their economies.  I look forward to seeing the creative and dynamic projects that will be supported by this new funding.”

The NBRC is a federal-state partnership for economic and community development in northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.  The program was created as part of the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill.  Leahy, as a leading member of the Agriculture Committee, was closely involved in the creation of the program, and is working to renew the program in current, ongoing negotiations for the Farm Bill this year. 

The NBRC funds were included as part of the Conference Agreement between the House and the Senate on a package of appropriations bills.  The package includes the fiscal year 2019 Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Programs, and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bills.  The package was approved by the Senate by a vote of 92 to 5 and must now pass the House and be signed into law by the President.

Senator Leahy’s full statement is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/minority/vice-chairman-patrick-leahy-d-vt-statement-on-on-senate-passage-of-the-minibus-i-conference-report

A conference report summary is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/minority/senate-appropriations-committee-vice-chairman-leahy-d-vt-releases-conference-agreement-summary-for-minibus-i

Conference report text is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Conference%20Report%20to%20accompany%20H.R.%205895.pdf

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