Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to fund broadband in infrastructure plan

Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to fund broadband in infrastructure plan
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE to include funding for expanding broadband access to rural communities in his infrastructure plan.

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAnalysis finds record high number of woman versus woman congressional races Former VA staffer charged with giving seven patients fatal insulin doses Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick MORE (R-W.Va.), Angus KingAngus KingSenate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick The Hill's Coronavirus Report: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Artistic Director Tim Seelig says choirs are dangerous; Pence says, 'We have saved lives' 7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports MORE (R-Ark.) sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday emphasizing the importance of internet access for rural states.

“Our rural communities have connectivity needs that are not being met, limiting economic opportunity and growth,” wrote the senators, all co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus. “Prioritizing direct funding support for broadband deployment in an infrastructure package will help close the digital divide and ensure our country maintains its global competitiveness.”

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The White House had said that it would release its infrastructure proposal this month, but it may not be ready until February.

Funding broadband expansion has widespread support among lawmakers and the tech and broadband industries. But Democrats and Republicans have offered differing views on how to fund such projects.

Trump’s proposal is expected to aim to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure projects, though it is still unclear how much of that will go towards broadband.

“Boosting current investments in broadband deployment will provide new economic opportunities in communities that are struggling to compete,” Wednesday’s letter reads. “Expanding access to broadband is the infrastructure challenge of our generation and an infrastructure plan for the 21st century must address the broadband connectivity issues facing rural America.”