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 TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE to include funding for expanding broadband access to rural communities in his infrastructure plan.

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants GOP senator: Border deal is 'a very good compromise' Push to include contractor back pay in funding deal hits GOP roadblock MORE (R-W.Va.), Angus KingAngus Stanley KingTexas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry Warner, Burr split on committee findings on collusion MORE (I-Maine), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders on Trump insult: Crazy that president 'is a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and a fraud' Trump revives 'Crazy Bernie' nickname one day after Sanders enters race Betting against Bernie? Dems assess the risk MORE (D-Minn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D-N.D.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanGOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions 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.”