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Rep. Cuellar Secures Initial Funding for the Southwest Border Regional Commission

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Texas Border Business

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) secured $250,000 in federal funding for the Southwest Border Regional Commission (SBRC), the first time since its authorization in 2008, in the fiscal year 2021 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The SBRC was created to address economic distress in the southern border regions of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

While the fully authorized amount for the SBRC is $33,000,000, the amount provided in this year’s Appropriations bill will get the Commission off the ground, including appointing a federal co-chair. This bill passed full committee markup and will move to the House and Senate floors for a vote.

“The Southwest Border Regional Commission was created to address the economic challenges faced by communities along the border. However, the SRBC lacks the necessary federal funding to address these challenges,” said Congressman Cuellar. “That’s why I worked hard to secure this initial funding for the Commission so we can build critical infrastructure, expand our workforce, and strengthen our communities. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to funding programs that encourage economic opportunity and community development on our southern border.”

“I want to thank Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Granger as well as Subcommittee Chairwoman Kaptur and Ranking Member Simpson for their work on this bill and for including this important provision.”

The Southwest Border Regional Commission is one of seven authorized federal regional commissions and authorities, which are congressionally-chartered, federal-state partnerships created to provide economic development in their respective areas. Although authorized in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-234), the SBRC is the only commission to have never received a corresponding federal appropriated funds. Once funded, the SBRC would provide grants for broadband, infrastructure projects, workforce development, small businesses, and other needed community development projects. This funding will assist border communities to create prosperity so they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving.

According to a report, if we took the forty-three counties along the Texas border and made it the 51st state, it would rank 1st in poverty and unemployment, with a per capita income at $15,570, which is below the poverty line for a household of four. This state would also rank 1st in Spanish spoken at home, 16th largest state in the country, 3rd largest with a foreign-born population, 3rd largest with a female head of household, 5th largest with civilian population in military duty. 

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By law, the Commission would work for a total of 93 counties on the southwest border – Arizona (10 counties), California (7), New Mexico (11), and Texas (65). To see a map of the Southwest Border Regional Commission, click here.

In April 2020, Congressman Cuellar and Congresswoman Torres Small led a letter to House Leadership, calling for federal funding of the Southwest Border Regional Commission (SBRC) in any subsequent COVID package. To read the letter, click here.

To see Congressman Cuellar speak on the Appropriations floor about the Southwest Border Regional Commission, click here.

To read Congressman Cuellar’s language in the fiscal year 2021 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, click here.

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