Senate Republicans Propose Cuts to Rural Broadband Plan

Three lead negotiators of the Senate GOP's counter-proposal to Biden's infrastructure plan represent states ranked in the bottom 10 for broadband access.

Senate Republicans Propose Cuts to Rural Broadband Plan
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), center, the GOP’s lead negotiator on a counteroffer to President Biden’s infrastructure plan, joined from left by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Sen. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.), speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, May 27, 2021.

In its infrastructure plan, the Biden administration initially proposed $2 trillion in spending over eight years, containing a $100 billion investment to reach 100% broadband coverage and access. The White House’s fact sheet pledged that the plan, which is currently being negotiated with Senate Republicans, would bring broadband to the more than 35% of rural Americans who lack high-speed internet access. 

Last month, Senate Republicans countered Biden’s infrastructure plan with a proposal for a $568 billion package with a smaller broadband investment of $65 billion. 

President Biden agreed last week to meet Republicans at that level to demonstrate his willingness to compromise, even though Mitch McConnell stands adamantly opposed to spending even a dollar more than the GOP proposal.

The Senate counter-proposal was led by Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), each of whom represents a state where many people do not have broadband access. 

Full post at The Brick House Cooperative.