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Mitch M.
Republican KY

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  • Appalachian Regional Commission

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2016-04-21

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    McCONNELL. Mr. President, on one final matter, I want to take a minute to say something about an amendment yesterday that would have defunded regional commissions such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC.



    While I did not support that effort, it did raise some important questions about the direction of ARC. I have been a long supporter of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the only government agency whose main purpose is to help poor and disadvantaged communities in the Appalachian region. However, I am deeply concerned that after 50 years, ARC's focus has become clouded.

    For instance, ARC's internal guidelines cap at 30 percent the amount of area development funds that can be used in the most impoverished areas of Appalachia. It seems utterly illogical to me that at a government agency, whose mission should be to alleviate poverty, 70 percent of the funds go to counties that are not among the poorest.

    What does ARC stand for if not to help the poorest areas of Appalachia? Is ARC a specialized agency with a coherent mission or is it just another Federal bureaucracy that simply allocates funds among 13 selected States regardless of the need? I hope the vote last night will serve as a wake-up call for management at the ARC--a wake-up call that it is time for the agency to reform itself and focus on the counties that most need assistance.

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