NRECA Concerned About Budget Cuts

CEO Jim Matheson says cuts could affect rural, energy programs

ARLINGTON, Va.—The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association today issued the following statement on President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request.

NRECA CEO Jim Matheson

“The president’s budget includes a number of concerning proposals that would handcuff rural families and businesses,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson.

“America’s electric cooperatives are deeply concerned about proposals in the budget that would undermine the vital power marketing administrations and marginalize USDA’s effective rural development programs. Co-ops across the nation leverage these federal programs to the benefit of millions of Americans.

“Equally as concerning is the proposed cut to the U.S. Agency for International Development. For more than 50 years, NRECA’s international program has partnered with electric cooperatives and USAID to bring electricity to more than 120 million people in 43 developing countries.

“A healthy rural America can be the rising tide that lifts the nation’s economy and the standard of living in countless communities. Rather than shifting funds away from critical programs that have a record of success, the administration should be working with co-ops and other stakeholders to jump start rural America’s economic engines. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration, members of Congress and other stakeholders to prioritize the needs of rural America.”

More than 600 rural electric cooperatives in over 30 states receive an allocation of PMA power.  Appropriations for the federal power program are repaid to the U.S. Treasury with interest.  Rural electric co-ops oppose any effort that would negatively impact the PMAs and threaten co-op communities with potential rate increases and uncertainty.

USDA Rural Development provides loans, grants and guarantees to support economic development and many essential services in rural communities. Its programs are essential to improving the quality of life for those who call rural America home.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.