Reaction to Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Passage
House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said, "With the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill today, we are modernizing our crumbling infrastructure, revitalizing our economy, and combating the worsening climate crisis.... the infrastructure bill’s sweeping investments in broadband access, affordability, and adoption will help us close the digital divide. Every community – regardless of zip code – needs and deserves access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet, and with today’s action we take a giant step toward making that a reality.
Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said, "The Senate infrastructure bill and the massive tax and spending spree are not the will of the American people. The Democrats’ radical agenda to spend a reckless amount of money will raise costs and make it even harder for people to build a better life. It will lead to blackouts, unaffordable electricity bills, tax hikes, jobs destroyed, weak defenses against our adversaries like China and Russia, no hope to cure diseases, long lines of the sick begging the government for lifesaving treatments, and slashed funding for hospitals that are trying to care for our country’s most vulnerable patients."
“This bill delivers an historic investment in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and in equipping Washington state to compete and succeed in a global economy,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell. “Whether it’s moving people safely, delivering goods, reducing congestion, protecting coastal habitats, or expanding broadband, these investments are key to creating jobs and building a strong and sustainable economic future.”
"I’ve said for a long time, you can't have a big league economy with little league infrastructure. And today Oregon and the American West will finally get the significant investments needed to deal with catastrophic wildfires and severe drought, build back hard-hit rural economies, improve access to public transit and make sure clean drinking water is a right for everyone," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). "And while now we can put people to work to build a more resilient and stronger Oregon, my work isn't over to deliver on equally-important priorities in the Build Back Better package."
Sen Michael Bennet (D-CO) said the "vote moves us one step closer to a transformational investment in our infrastructure. For years, Washington has talked about coming together to rebuild America. This bill finally achieves it with a historic, bipartisan investment in the roads, bridges, airports, water systems, and high-speed broadband America needs to compete in the 21st century."
"In particular, I am passionate about the historic investments to ensure all Americans have access to reliable, affordable broadband," said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. "There is a stark digital divide in America, which was exacerbated by the pandemic. More than 30 million Americans do not have access to reliable broadband, and the problem is worse in minority and rural communities. Even more communities do not have access to affordable broadband. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s significant investment will help ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through investments in broadband infrastructure, requiring funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, requiring providers to be transparent about pricing to help families comparison shop for service, and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service.
"The strength of a country’s economy depends on the strength of its infrastructure, and with today’s vote, we have ensured that the American economy will remain strong for decades to come. A once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill has been an ambition of policymakers for a long time. Its passage is an enormous achievement for our country. By modernizing public transit, rebuilding our bridges and roads, and connecting every home in the country with broadband, this bill will grow our economy and make it more resilient and sustainable in the process," said Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) noted that California expects to receive a minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state. While Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) said the passage was a win for President Biden.
United States Conference of Mayors President and Dayton (OH) Mayor Nan Whaley said, "This bill will help us tackle our country’s biggest challenges, modernizing our roads and bridges, improving our energy and water infrastructure, developing clean energy technology, and providing every American with a broadband connection. This legislation will make our country more competitive, prosperous, sustainable, and just. This legislation will have a meaningful impact on the lives of people in American cities everywhere, which is why 369 mayors – Republicans, Democrats and Independents from all 50 states – sent a letter to Congress this summer urging them to take immediate action on this legislation. As this bill becomes law we must all continue our efforts to make sure we don’t simply go back to normal, but rather build back better than before."
Free Press Action Vice President of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood said, "Affordable internet access for everyone is a must in modern society. The pandemic has made that need all too clear. People affected by the digital divide struggle to attend online classes, work remotely, apply for unemployment, access telehealth services, sign up for vaccination appointments and take part in so many facets of everyday life. The affordability provisions in the infrastructure bill represent a historic milestone. Never before have we seen such a meaningful congressional investment in closing the digital divide for people who may already have high-speed internet networks available in their neighborhoods, but who still cannot afford to connect."
“We applaud the House and the Senate for passing this important package, which includes a $65 billion investment to make broadband available and affordable across the country. As advocates for affordable broadband, we are thrilled to see the $14.2 billion investment to extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit created in the COVID-19 relief bill. We applaud the bill’s provisions that fund digital equity initiatives and that require internet service providers to use a uniform label so customers will be able to easily compare internet plans," said Chris Lewis, President and CEO at Public Knowledge. “This bipartisan infrastructure package makes great first strides in making broadband more available and affordable for millions of consumers across the country. However, the reduction of the low-income broadband subsidy from $50 to $30 is disappointing. States should ensure that their low-cost option takes this reduction into account. In addition to the investment in the infrastructure package, Congress should prioritize passage of the reconciliation package, which contains key elements for broadband adoption. Public Knowledge supports keeping the provision in the reconciliation package that funds digital equity outreach to consumers, as well as the benefit for devices for low-income households that don’t have the computers or tablets, which are needed to fully connect to work, education, and other essential broadband uses. While this legislation takes important steps to prevent providers from discriminating based on a region’s income or demographic characteristics, the effectiveness of this provision will depend upon the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation. We urge the FCC to make sure that all consumers have equal access to broadband and we look forward to the speedy confirmation of the new FCC nominations in order to have a full five-member FCC ready to tackle this important implementation. Although there is still much work to do, this legislation is a big step forward, connecting millions across the country. We thank both chambers in Congress for passing this important legislation.”
Kathryn de Wit, project director for Pew’s broadband access initiative, said, "This is a historic moment in broadband policy, demonstrating bipartisan agreement around a single idea: Universal, affordable broadband means a stronger future for communities across the country. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides an unprecedented investment in broadband infrastructure, devices, digital literacy, and affordability and will accelerate America’s progress toward universal high-speed internet access. It continues Congress’ efforts to improve federal standards for speed, accountability, and equity in broadband. And, for the first time, Congress has empowered entities closest to the problem of insufficient and unaffordable broadband access—state and local governments—to solve it. Some of them have already made inroads here. This legislation reflects years of research from Pew and others showing that funding alone isn’t enough to bridge the digital divide. Now the operational support provided by the bill will help state governments collect data, draft broadband plans, and coordinate with partners to increase high-speed internet access. These evidence-based activities, informed by the progress state and local leaders have already made over the last several years, will guide how federal funds are used to expand broadband access across the nation."
"We appreciate that Congress recognizes libraries are key partners in advancing digital equity," said American Library Association President Patty Wong. "Libraries are the physical and human infrastructure - the connections, devices, and training - that help to close the digital divide. Broadband infrastructure legislation must address digital equity at the same time as deployment to unserved and underserved areas. As these programs are implemented, we urge federal, state, and local partners to collaborate with libraries. To achieve universal broadband access and digital literacy, libraries must be a part of the solution."
“This moment is unprecedented,” said Angela Siefer, executive director of National Digital Inclusion Alliance. “Not only is the funding an incredible down payment on digital equity, it is an acknowledgment of two decades of grassroots efforts to bridge the digital divide. NDIA and our community will make the most of this moment.”
Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), said, "This legislation will now begin to address our Nation’s crumbling infrastructure and close the digital divide. When signed by President Biden, this legislation will expand broadband access and affordability to Latinx, BIPOC, and vulnerable communities. The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) commends the U.S. House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for getting this historic and critically needed piece of legislation across the finish line."
The Communications Workers of America said, "The $65 billion in the IIJA to support the expansion and affordability of broadband will help close the digital divide. For the first time, the bill prioritizes broadband projects from employers who follow labor law. That means that the funding will create good, sustainable jobs in our communities. CWA members are eager to begin this buildout and to support the deployment, working with state legislators and regulators to make sure that the funds are distributed to projects that deliver the speed and reliability that customers need and that the companies that receive the funds are held to high standards."
Gary Bolton, head of the Fiber Broadband Association, said, “We now need to move our focus from Congress to NTIA and the state and local level. Only 26 states currently have broadband offices, and other states have a designate, which is typically a multi-agency broadband task force. And, while 40 states currently have broadband programs, these state broadband programs vary widely.” He said the group is working to develop a playbook of best practices for state broadband programs and expects to work “closely with both NTIA and the FCC in 2022.”
NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield said, “Implemented properly, this investment should go great distances toward connecting the millions of rural consumers who still need reliable, sustainable and affordable access.” She urged state and federal policymakers to “invest in future-proof scalable technology like fiber, and to partner with small, community-based local exchange providers – regardless of their corporate structure – who have already proven their ability and commitment to build and maintain strong networks in rural areas.”
"When the Senate cleared the same plan back in August, I called it a generational and hopefully transformational investment in network deployment, affordability, cybersecurity and digital equity," said USTelecom's Jonathan Spalter. "I also was candid and said what the Senate passed was 'far from perfect' and the rushed and unorthodox legislative process would mean the nitty gritty implementation details will matter – a lot. But, on balance, this infrastructure package represented meaningful progress to advance America’s shared connectivity goals. How do I feel today? About the same."
Former President Donald Trump said, "All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell, for granting a two month stay which allowed the Democrats time to work things out at our Country’s, and the Republican Party’s, expense!" He continued, "How about all of those Republican Senators that voted thinking that helping the Democrats is such a wonderful thing to do, so politically correct. They just don’t get it!"
Reaction to Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Passage Chairman Pallone on House Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Rep Rodgers Statement: This Reckless Tax and Spending Spree is NOT the Will of the American People Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo Applauds the Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Statement by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Historic Investments to Rebuild America’s Transportation Infrastructure, Spur Economic Growth are On the Way as IIJA Heads to Pr Trump bashes Senate Republicans, McConnell over infrastructure bill (The Hill) Governor Newsom Statement on Passage of $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by Congress Republican governor says infrastructure passage a win for Biden (The Hill) Nation’s Mayors Celebrate House Passage of Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Nation’s Mayors Celebrate House Passage of Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Sen https://www.usmayors.org/2021/11/06/nations-mayors-celebrate-house-passage-of-historic-bipartisan-infrastructure-legislation Free Press Action Applauds House Passage of Infrastructure Bill House Passage of Infrastructure Package Moves to Close the Digital Divide Two Years in the Making, the Digital Equity Act Passes in Congress Congress Finally Passes Legislation to Address the Nation’s Digital Divide Broadband gets $65 billion in U.S. infrastructure bill – here’s what happens next Infrastructure Plan Leverages Private Broadband $$, Innovation and Expertise (USTelecom) CWA Celebrate Passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Pew Applauds Infrastructure Bill’s Commitment to Broadband Access, Equity ALA applauds congressional passage of digital equity funds available to libraries Wyden Welcomes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Passage