March 2, 2021
The next big agenda item for the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress is a broad infrastructure plan. House Agriculture Committee Leadership plans to put forward a bipartisan infrastructure plan, and the centerpiece of that plan will be broadband internet, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.).
Scott told the Agri-Pulse Food and Agriculture Policy Summit that an infrastructure program without improvements in rural internet access would stunt rural development.
“We’ve got to be smart and develop rural broadband as a centerpiece to move out for rural development because if you don't have rural broadband there, you're not going to have the rural development that we need,” Scott said.
In Scott’s eyes, a priority must be addressing the specific needs of various rural geographies. He warned there would be danger in allowing an all-encompassing, national broadband plan as part of a larger infrastructure bill.
“If we hold back and try to get rural broadband through a massive infrastructure bill, that has just about so much in it - sometimes we've got to say, ‘here is what we want’ and put the money down.”
Scott said he and ranking member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson will hold a hearing to gather ideas for a bipartisan rural infrastructure bill after Easter.