Miss. Senators Warn of Negative Impact From Proposed Status Change to Hattiesburg

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, March 23, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., are among a bipartisan group of 25 Senators who sent a letter that encourages Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Rob Fairweather to abandon plans to change the current definition of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

The OMB has proposed doubling the minimum population requirement for a MSA from 50,000 to 100,000 residents. A loss of MSA status could negatively affect federal funding in these communities and hinder economic development opportunities. This recommendation would eliminate MSA status for more than 140 cities across the country, including Hattiesburg.

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“Though the consideration of nonstatistical uses is not the priority of OMB, ignoring the unwritten effects that MSAs have on the decision-making process of our government would cause major disruptions with grant and entitlement programs, medical reimbursements, economic development, housing initiatives, and more. The MSA metric has become a critical tool so broadly used that changing it without considering its far-reaching impacts is short-sighted,” the Senators wrote.

Senators John Boozman, R-Ark., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., authored the letter, which was also signed by Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Roger Marshall, M.D., R-Kan., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Todd Young, R-Ind.