Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Date: May 18, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PADILLA. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act, which I introduced today.

Next-generation propulsion aircraft, including electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, are poised to revolutionize how people and cargo move within and between cities, suburban, and rural areas. These advanced air mobility technologies also present the potential to transform how we link historically underserved communities and deploy a new type of transportation that does not require physical roads or rails.

As localities, regions, and States consider how to integrate the advent of these technologies and the opportunities to relieve traffic congestion and improve mobility options, a modest Federal investment can help communities ensure that cutting-edge, clean, quiet aviation technologies can be best integrated into existing and future transportation networks.

That is why I am proud to introduce this bill to help States and localities keep pace with this growing sector. It would establish a pilot program to help State, local, and Tribal governments to prepare for anticipated advanced air mobility operations and ensure communities can take advantage of the potential benefits of the safe integration of these technologies in our Nation's airspace.

I want to thank Senator Moran for coleading this bill with me, and I hope our colleagues will join us in support of this bill that will help communities prepare for the development and deployment of advanced air mobility technologies and related infrastructure. ______

By Mr. PADILLA (for himself, Mr. Menendez, and Mr. Brown):

S. 4247. A bill to amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 to establish university centers to encourage certain economic development, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.


Mr. PADILLA. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the University Centers for Growth, Development, and Prosperity Act, which I introduced today.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration created the University Center Program to allow institutions of higher education and consortia to establish and maintain university centers, with the understanding that our higher education institutions play a critical role in our Nation's economic growth.

University centers are Federal partnerships that leverage the assets of higher learning institutions to strengthen regional economic growth by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation. They encourage economic development in economically distressed regions, which helps spur job growth, high-skilled regional talent pools, and business expansion.

Despite EDA's important work, many communities across the country have yet to benefit from the Agency's programs, including smaller communities, communities of color, and rural areas experiencing higher rates of poverty.

The current University Center Program is not specifically authorized by Congress and is instead part of EDA's Technical Assistance Program.

That is why I am proud to introduce legislation that would codify and expand the University Center Program, leverage more resources for minority-serving institutions, and support a greater diversity of innovation and entrepreneurship in their communities. California has thriving institutions, including Chico State and Fresno State, that will be able to scale their impact with new resources. By prioritizing the establishment of new university centers at colleges and universities that serve significant populations of underserved students, we can strengthen regional economies and help close the racial wealth gap.

Specifically, the bill establishes an EDA University Center Program to help universities collaborate with economic development districts, trade adjustment assistance centers, and other economic development technical assistance and service providers to develop and implement comprehensive economic development strategies and other economic development planning at the local, regional, and State levels, with a focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development.

It also prioritizes the participation of minority-serving institutions as part of the University Center Program. Minority-serving institutions provide incredible opportunities for so many low-income and first-generation students. I am proud that my State of California is home to 174 Hispanic-serving institutions and 51 emerging Hispanic- serving institutions the highest amount in the country.

As a Senator representing one of the most diverse States in the country, I am proud to work with my colleagues to ensure that we work to improve the equity of EDA programming and help increase the participation of minority-serving institutions.

I want to thank Congressman Pete Aguilar for introducing this bill with me, and I hope our colleagues will join us in support of this effort. ______

By Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Brown, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Carper, Ms. Duckworth, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Schatz, Mr. Warnock, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Feinstein, and Mr. Whitehouse):

S. 4255. A bill to authorize dedicated domestic terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the Federal Government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism; to the Committee on the Judiciary.