U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Rural Prosperity Act. Currently, there are more than 400 federal programs dedicated to helping rural communities, spread across 13 departments, and over 50 offices and sub-agencies. All too often, this creates duplicative and ineffective bureaucracy in which programs are siloed and inflexible, making it challenging for small communities in rural areas to identify programs that meet their needs. This bill would streamline these programs and cut bureaucratic red tape by establishing the Office of Rural Prosperity, a permanent office in the White House tasked with coordinating federal efforts to support and connect New York’s rural communities to federal programs and resources in order to improve outcomes for rural families and economies.
“We have the unique opportunity with the Rural Prosperity Act to improve how the federal government invests in rural America and fix a system that is too narrow and inflexible to meet the specific needs of rural communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bipartisan bill would create an Office of Rural Prosperity to ensure these communities have the support needed to overcome complex challenges when seeking federal support. This model has already proven to be successful and will help New York’s rural communities thrive.”
The bipartisan Rural Prosperity Act would ensure better coordination across federal agencies by:
- Establishing the Office of Rural Prosperity within the White House to coordinate rural economic development programs across government. The office would be led by a Chief Rural Advisor, who would be appointed by the president and responsible for coordinating all federal rural development efforts.
- Forming a Rural Prosperity Council composed of the heads of executive branch departments, agencies, and offices that have programs that serve rural areas. The Council would serve as a forum to resolve interagency disputes and coordinate a whole-of-government effort to address the needs of rural communities across the country.
- Providing for the development of a comprehensive strategy for rural economic development across the executive branch.
- Facilitating engagement with stakeholders and the convening of public hearings to identify common challenges faced by rural areas.
- Having the Office of Rural Prosperity make recommendations on how to coordinate, streamline, and leverage existing federal investments to address challenges faced by rural areas, as well as develop a common set of metrics to ensure that all rural development programs are meeting a common set of evidence-backed standards.
Gillibrand introduced this bill alongside Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04), Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), Adrian Smith (R-NE-03), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), and Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04) introduced companion legislation in the House.
Read the text of the Rural Prosperity Act HERE.