Mr. VISCLOSKY. I rise in strong opposition to the gentleman's amendment.
The Southeast Crescent Regional Commission includes all of the counties from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida that are not already served by the ARC or the DRA. Though relatively new, this regional commission is intended to address planning and coordination on regional investments and targeting resources to those communities with the greatest needs.
Many of these areas covered by this commission suffer from high unemployment--10 percent in South Carolina, one of the highest in the Nation. Marion County in South Carolina has 19 percent unemployment. The county has seen both textile and manufacturing jobs disappear, and this economic predicament is similar in much of the area covered by the commission.
As we have seen with ARC investments, investment in regional commissions can go toward area development and technical assistance goals such as increasing job opportunities, improving employability, and strengthening basic infrastructure.
The conventional wisdom among economists has long been that regional approaches can be valuable in addressing developmental situations that cannot be addressed simply through local policies. For example, to help people in one jurisdiction to find jobs, one may have to create jobs for them in a neighboring growth center.
In recent years regional approaches have gained greater support, hence the relative newness of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission, in part because of increased global competition that rural communities face.
When people think of the First Congressional District that I represent, because we produce more steel in one congressional district than any State in the United States of America, they also miss the fact that one of the counties I have the privilege of representing has 9,000 people in it, another has 14,000 people, another has 23,000. There are [Page: H5015]
very rural areas that are also economically stressed and do not have those centers of gravity and need that
type of tension to try to generate some new economic opportunity and jobs, which is why, just from my practical experience with the rural counties I have, I do believe it is important to continue to work with the commission; and that is why I do rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment.
Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Please tell me what this commission does. We've looked and looked, and we can't find a Web site for them. We can't find anything for them. This is my district, what we are talking about. I represent the northeast corner of the State of Georgia. In fact, we worked very strongly, my staff and I, with the Appalachian Regional Commission, the ARC, that the gentleman just mentioned. But we can't find even a Web site for this commission. And just having a commission for the sake of a commission, even
though this would be considered a small amount of money, $250,000, to me is a lot of money. And if we add little bits of money together, after a while, then we get into bigger and bigger funds.
So I think we need to start looking at getting rid of duplicative commissions, duplicative functions of the Federal Government. And this is just one--because my staff and I looked to try to find what this commission does, what this $250,000 is expended on. We couldn't find it.
I'm for economic development. In fact, in those counties in northeast Georgia that I represent, we do have a tremendous unemployment rate. In some of those counties, we have 20, 25 percent, maybe even higher, underemployment and unemployment rates. So I am extremely, extremely cognizant of the need for developing jobs for these areas. But I'm also very cognizant that we are in an economic emergency as a Nation; and wherever we can save money, I would like to do so.
I don't know what this commission does. I can't find anything about it. So if the gentleman would please tell me, I would be eager to know.