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 TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE to include funding for expanding broadband access to rural communities in his infrastructure plan.

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (R-W.Va.), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members Senators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Klobuchar: A woman with Buttigieg's experience would not be on presidential debate stage MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid VA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal 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.”