Club for Growth key-votes amendment to nix funding for Commerce agency

The conservative Club for Growth is urging support for a House amendment that would nix funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and transfer the savings to deficit reduction.

The group said it will key-vote the Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) amendment to the Commerce, Justice, science appropriations bill that would defund the agency.

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A vote on the amendment is expected this week and will be included in the Club for Growth's congressional scorecard.

The group said the agency, which provides financial help to economically distressed areas to stimulate economic growth, is "nothing more than a redistribution scheme allowing politicians and bureaucrats to fund their pet projects.”

"The EDA is corporate welfare," said Andy Roth, the group's vice president of government affairs.

"The free market, not the government, should be in charge of picking winners and losers in the private sector."

The House spending bill includes $247.5 million in funding for the EDA, about the same as the fiscal 2014 enacted level. The allocation includes $5 million in grant funding to help encourage companies to bring overseas jobs back to the United States.

"A better alternative to the EDA is to cut tax rates on individuals and businesses while at the same time eliminating special interest carve outs and regulations, thereby promoting economic growth without growing the government," Roth said. 

There have been unsuccessful attempts in previous years to eliminate the agency. 

A new assistant secretary, Jay Williams, was recently sworn in to head up the EDA. 

The Club's announcement comes the same day that Williams and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced 12 communities that have been named as manufacturing hubs and will receive federal grants to boost the sector's expansion.