Congressman Hurt Votes For, Then Against, Economic Development

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    Last week, on Tuesday May the 8th, the House of Representatives was considering H.R. 5326, the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013. Considered under an open rule, the appropriations bill attracted a significant number of proposed amendments to adjust spending levels for a wide number of government agencies. With a large number of amendments it can be difficult for a member to keep track of which way is up. Apparently freshman Robert Hurt has some problems, as he ended up voting both for and against the Economic Development Administration last week.

    The Economic Development Administration has been one of several economic development agencies that conservatives have targeted for destruction.

    While conservatives criticize the EDA, on the ground in Southside Virginia the agency is funding important local projects

    A $2.27 million federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will fund the site preparation work – such as land grading and utility work – to make a 33-acre and 64-acre lot in Cane Creek tenant-ready. Officials estimate the projects will generate between $27 million and $45 million in private investment.

    EDA has been helping Danville for several years, so it makes sense that last Tuesday Congressman Robert Hurt voted for a proposed amendment to the CJS appropriations bill that would add $38 million in funding for the Economic Development Administration. Hurt was one of 48 Republicans to stand up against the conservative leadership in the House to promote the agency, but the amendment still failed.

    A few minutes later, the House voted on a proposed amendment that would cut the entire EDA budget entirely, $219.5 million in total. Hurt voted with the most extreme members of the GOP caucus to gut the entire agency, but more moderate members joined with Democrats to vote the amendment down.

    Within minutes of voting to expand the funding for EDA, Hurt voted to gut the entire budget.

    Does Hurt even bother to read amendments before he votes?