House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Monday announced the creation of an all-Democrat task force on rural broadband, signaling his support for the inclusion of broadband funding in any infrastructure package.
The move comes as Democratic leaders pursue a potential $2 trillion infrastructure deal with President Trump, with both sides saying rural broadband would likely be included.
“It’s unacceptable in 2019 that many rural communities have limited to no access to the internet,” Clyburn said in a statement. “If rural America is to thrive in the 21st century information economy, it must have affordable and accessible internet service to every community.”
The group of 17 House Democrats aims to ensure federal funding for rural broadband is spent “effectively” and that legislation is passed to expand internet access to all Americans by 2025, according to a statement about the new coalition. Its members include lawmakers representing rural districts, as well as some progressive leaders like Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
“Majority Whip Clyburn and the President agreed on the need to include significant funding for rural broadband in the package,” the statement reads.
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Trump promised to put rural broadband in his previous budgets and it did not happen. Let’s hope this time it is a real deal!