Herrera Beutler Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Create Federal Grant Program for Distressed Communities


Southwest Washington’s U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, along with Washington Democrat Derek Kilmer, of Gig Harbor, introduced the “RECOMPETE Act” this week, which would establish a new federal grant program aimed at economically distressed communities.

The Act, fully known as the “Rebuilding Economies and Creating Opportunities for More People Everywhere to Excel Act,” would funnel money into infrastructure, rural broadband, brownfield redevelopment, workforce development, small business assistance and other opportunities through 10-year grants, according to a news release.

“Growing our economy and creating good-paying jobs in Southwest Washington has always been my number one priority — not just in cities but each one of our rural communities, too,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “It’s clear that parts of our region that were distressed pre-pandemic and are struggling mightily now would benefit immensely from improved infrastructure, reliable broadband, worker training, small business assistance and other tools and funding that can be controlled locally.”

The bill could, according to the congresswoman, “target these types of tools and resources in places where misguided regulations and government-mandated closures have hurt the most in order to spur the creation of new, permanent jobs.”

In the release, Kilmer said he grew up in Port Angeles and remembers when “the timber industry took it on the chin,” crushing jobs.

He called the RECOMPETE Act a “bold proposal to provide flexible, long-term grant assistance to create jobs and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and opportunity.”

Herrera Beutler and Kilmer are also joined by Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo and California Republcan Rep. Doug LaMalfa.