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Mr. NUNNELEE. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
It is no secret that our Nation's budget is bleeding in red ink. This House has approved a budget that will turn that around, and the Appropriations Committee has brought forth bills consistent with that budget.
I want to thank the chairman, the gentleman from New Jersey, and the ranking member, the gentlewoman from Ohio, for their efforts in meeting these budget targets and in eliminating wasteful programs but, at the same time, in preserving our priorities.
This amendment specifically deletes funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, and I would like to address those priorities that are addressed by that commission. This is not a wasteful program. It has invested in infrastructure. It has changed the lives and the income of the men and women of that region, a region that I represent. When the Appalachian Regional Commission was formed almost five decades ago, it included some of the poorest counties of the poorest States in the Nation. Since then, it has achieved measurable results: the number of people living in high poverty has been cut in half; infant mortality has been cut by two-thirds; and students without a high school education have decreased significantly.
But the men and women of this region aren't sitting idly by, waiting for Federal investment to show up to solve our problems. We've used the Federal investment through the Appalachian Regional Commission and leveraged it with local and other State investments. In the last 4 years, the Appalachian Regional Commission has invested $360 million in that region. At the same time, over $1 billion of other public investment has occurred. What has that done? It's attracted over $2.8 billion in private investment, which has resulted in 122,000 jobs that have been created. This commission has made a difference.
No, it's not wasteful spending. The Appalachian Regional Commission is making a difference in the lives of the men and women and families in Appalachian. Because of that, I oppose this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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