WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) praised the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) decision to hold on changes that would have taken away federal funding opportunities from cities like Cleveland, Jackson, and Morristown in Tennessee. The proposed modifications would have redefined metropolitan statistical area requirements and forced more cities to compete for a smaller pot of funds.
The decision follows a letter Senator Blackburn sent with Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Representatives Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.), and David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) urging the OMB to delay the redefinition.
“Washington bureaucrats wanted to take away key federal funding opportunities from Tennessee cities including Cleveland, Jackson, and Morristown,” said Senator Blackburn. “I led the charge with my colleagues in Congress back in March to ensure our communities continue to have the funding opportunities they deserve. The OMB decision is a tremendous win for the men and women of the Volunteer State as we rebuild from the pandemic.”
“I am pleased to see OMB retreat on their proposal to alter metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area standards, a rule that if adopted would have done significant harm to towns and cities across Tennessee,” Senator Hagerty said. “In March, members of our delegation raised these serious concerns with the Biden Administration, and today I’m proud that Tennesseans will not be prejudiced in the allocation of federal resources.”
“I am happy to hear that the OMB is backing off its proposal to change the definition of a 'city.' Countless communities across East Tennessee will continue to receive federal grants and ensure residents receive necessary services. I thank Senators Blackburn and Hagerty and Representatives Kustoff and Harshbarger for their help defending communities across Tennessee,” said Representative Fleischmann.
“The decision to keep the current definition of a metropolitan statistical area at 50,000 people is great news for Morristown. Had OMB increased the threshold as debated, Morristown and hundreds of communities across the country would’ve lost their MSA status, depriving them of access to certain federal funding opportunities and their ability to grow and attract businesses. I’m glad to see OMB heard the concerns of myself and many of my colleagues, and I’m excited to share the news with Mayor Gary Chesney and the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce,” said Representative Harshbarger.
“I am happy to see the Office of Management and Budget will no longer be changing the federal definition of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). This change would have drastically hurt several of our communities, including Jackson, Tennessee, and would have denied them critical opportunities for economic growth and development,” said Representative Kustoff.