The Ag Minute: Obama's spending frenzy is costing rural America opportunities

Federal effort to foster the growth of broadband Internet services for millions of rural Americans is quickly becoming another one of those programs.

The rural broadband program has traditionally enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Just like extending telephone service and electricity to rural America a century ago assisted two generations of Americans in lifting themselves out of poverty, so too will extending the 21st century’s latest communications medium – broadband Internet – to all Americans.

Unfortunately, this program is in serious jeopardy of becoming another casualty of the 'spend first, ask questions later' mentality of the Obama administration. Last year, Congress asked USDA to develop a map of where in America broadband services were severely lacking. This map is due early next year. Yet, in a rush to shovel money out the door, the administration is demanding that the rural broadband money – some $7 billion – get spent by September.

By not waiting for the map, President Obama and Secretary Vilsack are giving up the opportunity to carefully plan and spend our limited federal resources wisely in an attempt to make a political splash before Election Day. This is bad policy, bad politics, and poor stewardship of your tax dollars.

My Republican colleagues and I are working to ensure that the hard earned money you send to Washington is watched over as well you watch over your own money.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas)

The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.