House Republicans recently unveiled our Commitment to America agenda, which outlines our efforts in Congress to renew, rebuild, and restore our nation to ensure we bounce back better than before after the COVID-19 pandemic. E&C Republican initiatives are included throughout this robust plan, including specific ways to rebuild and upgrade our communications, energy, and environmental infrastructure to allow for continued American innovation.
To close the digital divide, support continued U.S. energy independence, and protect our environment for future generations, we must deploy new, updated infrastructure across U.S. communities. Unfortunately, permitting processes required to build cellular towers, energy structures, and other projects have become so burdensome that they can take years to get approved and often make our environmental quality worse. E&C Republicans have introduced several dozen initiatives this Congress to streamline permitting processes and take out unnecessary or duplicative barriers preventing the building of new infrastructure.
As Americans worked, learned, and received health care from home during COVID-19, a much-needed focus was placed on expanding broadband access across U.S. communities. E&C Republicans remain committed to closing the digital divide, and, as part of their efforts, introduced 26 bills to help deploy new, upgraded infrastructure, promote competition and consumer choice, streamline regulations for building this infrastructure, and allow for broadband infrastructure on federal lands. In June, E&C GOP Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee GOP Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) wrote to Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) requesting a broadband hearing to evaluate some of these proposals, saying “it is our duty to examine these issues and work in a bipartisan manner to close the digital divide.” We hope Democrats take us up on this important request to work together to expand broadband access across U.S. communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic also showed the importance of stopping supply chain threats, from our medical supplies, to our telecommunications gear and infrastructure, and our energy resources. U.S. energy independence directly impacts our economy, supporting hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, and our national security, by preventing us from having to rely on foreign countries to power our communities. E&C Republicans introduced several reforms this Congress to ensure we remain energy-independent while also promoting energy innovation, providing for increased use of clean energy sources, and cutting federal red tape that is significantly delaying the building of these needed projects.
Lastly, House Republicans are also pushing to reform the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that has strayed from its original intent to promote environmental protections and has ironically not only delayed infrastructure projects but also has made our environment worse off. E&C GOP Leader Walden joined U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), Natural Resources Committee Republican Leader Rob Bishop (R-UT), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican Leader Sam Graves (R-MO), and House Republican Leadership to introduce the Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act (H.R. 8333). This bill would work to restore NEPA to its original purpose, ensuring the public health and safety of our communities and the protection of our environment, and take out the often costly, burdensome, lengthy requirements that prohibit new infrastructure and lack any real benefit to our environment.
House Republicans will continue working to rebuild America back to better than it was before, and have proposed several real reforms to help us get there. By streamlining permitting processes to unleash communications, energy, and environmental innovation, America will be stronger than ever, and built to lead for future generations.