GOP Lawmakers: Move Appalachian Agency Out Of Washington

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Two powerful Kentucky Republicans have an idea to boost an economic development agency that helps Appalachia: Move it out of the nation’s capital.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and veteran Rep. Hal Rogers are sponsoring a bill they say will refocus the Appalachian Regional Commission to invest more in the poorest communities in 13 Appalachian states.

The bill would move the panel’s headquarters from Washington to an undetermined location in Appalachia. The lawmakers say similar commissions are headquartered in their respective regions, reducing administrative costs and making them more accountable to communities they serve.

The bill also would increase funding to distressed counties under the commission’s Area Development Program.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget targets the Appalachian panel for elimination, but lawmakers from both parties pledge it will remain intact.