WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump signed the Farm Bill into law.
“This Congress we’ve been hard at work to expand broadband access, and the signing of this bill means giving millions of Americans the resources and opportunities many of us already enjoy,” said Chairman Walden. “Included in this farm bill are much-needed reforms that will ease regulatory barriers and better target broadband funds so we can increase access to broadband internet for our nation’s farmers and rural communities. All Americans should be able to participate in the digital age no matter where they live, and this legislation brings us one step closer to closing the digital divide.”
Several Energy and Commerce Committee priorities were in the Farm Bill, including:
- Greatly improved coordination of funding by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), providing the Energy and Commerce Committee further oversight to ensure that federal dollars are received by communities most in need, and barring finite dollars from being sent to cities already served. These agencies are also to report to the committee on the bandwidth challenges facing rural providers in the modern content delivery marketplace.
- Inclusion of #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta’s H.R. 4881, the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which tasks the FCC with working with the Department of Agriculture on efforts to increase broadband deployment and adoption in rural areas so ranchers and farmers are able to improve their yields with increased connectivity. H.R. 4881 was reported by the committee on July 12, 2018 and passed the House on July 23, 2018 by a vote of 378-4.
- Reauthorization of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) for 10 years. NORA helps provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to American consumers.