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Congressional delegation vows to fight for NBRC funding

COOS COUNTY - The state's congressional delegation is vowing to fight President Donald Trump's budget plan to eliminate funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal eliminates funding for the commission, which provides money for economic and community development projects in northern sections of New England and New York.

Since 2010, the commission has awarded over $10 million to 59 projects in New Hampshire. All projects are required to have matching funds.

Funding from the program has been used locally to create an industrial millwright training program at White Mountains Community College, expand Coos County Family Health Services’ clinical space, and for Berlin’s River walk project. Northern Border Regional Commission money also helped fund the new Friendship House in Bethlehem.

"The Northern Border Regional Commission empowers New Hampshire’s rural communities with the resources they need to invest in job creating opportunities and boost our regional economy. The President’s proposal to eliminate this program is misguided and would cut off assistance to economically distressed parts of the state," said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. "Thankfully, Congress maintains the power of the purse, and as the appropriations process begins, I’ll work across the aisle to ensure the NBRC has the funding it needs to serve Granite State communities."

The commission was reauthorized for five years in the 2018 Farm Bill and the coverage area and funding was expanded. In New Hampshire, the coverage area now includes all or parts of Coos, Grafton, Carroll, Sullivan, Belknap and Cheshire Counties. The bill also increased funding for grant projects to $25 million.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said the commission has a proven track record of delivering for rural communities in New Hampshire.

"I’ve fought for this program because I’ve seen its success in the Granite State firsthand. From expanding substance misuse treatment to upgrading sewer systems and promoting workforce development, NBRC is making a real difference in the lives of people in our state," Kuster said.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said year after year, the Trump administration proposes to slash funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

"We’ve defeated these misguided efforts to eliminate the program in the past, and I will keep fighting to ensure that these latest proposed cuts do not become a reality," she said.

The Northern Border Regional Commission was initially formed in the 2008 Farm Bill.