Blue Dogs Push to Ensure Rural Broadband Funds Go Where They Are Most Needed

June 3, 2021 by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON – Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Wednesday, calling for the funds to expand broadband in the pending infrastructure legislation to be directed where they are needed most.

Specifically, the Blue Dogs are calling for the legislation to ensure that underserved and unserved communities are made a priority when it comes to the delivery of internet service, and not made to wait or come in second to other parts of the country.

“Lessons from recent history, such as the recovery from the 2009 financial crisis, can ensure we do right by rural and underserved communities,” the letter said. “Although the data following that recovery indicated that the country overall saw economic improvement up until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality was that rural America did not see the same benefits as urban areas. This was, in part, due to a failure to deliver broadband to areas of the country where it was most needed.”

To avoid repeating these mistakes, the coalition said, the funds in an infrastructure bill to expand broadband must be sent where the need is greatest, and programs must have the flexibility to ensure that rural areas are not left out.

In addition to providing flexibility, implementation should not translate to a slower-tier of internet access just for rural Americans. The best technology should not only be available in the nation’s cities and suburbs, the Blue Dogs said.

“Throughout our nation’s history, both parties have recognized that innovation spurs the need to expand new infrastructure to rural America to keep our country at the cutting edge of international competition, such as rural electrification under President Franklin Roosevelt and the expansion of the interstate highway system under President Dwight Eisenhower,” the group continued. “If done right in the current recovery, investment to bring every community online would be a major step to strengthen the rural economy, address the rural health care crisis, and empower rural workers all while strengthening the larger American economy.”

The letter was sent under the leadership of Rep. Tom O’Halleran, co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition and chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Strengthening Rural America. In addition to the Arizona Democrat, the letter was signed by Reps. Sanford Bishop, of Georgia, Ed Case, of Hawaii, Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, Jim Costa, of California, Vicente Gonzalez, of Texas, Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, Kurt Schrader, of Oregon, Abigail Spanberger, of Virginia, and Mike Thompson, of California.

In The News

Health

Voting

Infrastructure

Cabinet Sells Biden's Ambitious Agenda Across US
Political News
Cabinet Sells Biden's Ambitious Agenda Across US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marty Walsh remembers what it was like when a Cabinet secretary would come to town. "It really is a big deal. They give you the dates, and you just clear your schedule," said Walsh, a former mayor of Boston.  He recalls 300 people... Read More

Senators Eye $579B in New Infrastructure Spending, $1T Plan
Political News
Senators Eye $579B in New Infrastructure Spending, $1T Plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators is eyeing an infrastructure deal  with $579 billion in new spending as negotiators try to strike a nearly $1 trillion deal on President Joe Biden's top priority, according to those briefed on the plan. The 10 senators have... Read More

Problem Solvers Unveil Plan to Break Infrastructure Logjam
Congress
Problem Solvers Unveil Plan to Break Infrastructure Logjam
June 9, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Problem Solvers Caucus released a new, $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal Wednesday, aiming to break the partisan gridlock that has so far stymied any kind of deal between the White House and Capitol Hill. The plan put forward by the bipartisan caucus was crafted... Read More

White House Pulls Plug on Capito Infrastructure Talks
Infrastructure
White House Pulls Plug on Capito Infrastructure Talks
June 9, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden walked away from negotiations over an infrastructure bill with a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R- W. Va., and now hopes to strike a deal with a separate, bipartisan group of senators. The president and Capito have... Read More

'A Lot of Anxiety' for Democrats as Biden Agenda Stalls
Political News
'A Lot of Anxiety' for Democrats as Biden Agenda Stalls

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hopes for a big infrastructure investment  are teetering. An ambitious elections and voting bill  is all but dead. Legislation on police brutality, gun control and immigration has stalled out. Nearly six months of Democratic control in Washington, the party's progressive wing is growing... Read More

New Dems Outline Infrastructure Priorities for American Jobs Plan
Congress
New Dems Outline Infrastructure Priorities for American Jobs Plan
June 4, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - The House New Democrat Coalition on Wednesday endorsed several bills its members say will modernize the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs and grow the economy. The coalition, led by Infrastructure task force co-chairs Carolyn Bourdeaux, of Georgia, and Norma Torres, of California, NDC Chair Suzan... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top