WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement following Senate passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill will now go to the House for consideration.
“Last month, President Biden stood with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress at the White House to announce the framework of an infrastructure deal that will benefit all Americans. Today that legislation takes an important step towards becoming law and creating good-paying jobs and growing our economy for decades to come.
“Rural America stands to benefit from this historic long-term investment in our infrastructure and economic competitiveness. From tackling some of the greatest challenges we face today, to making long-term investments in the rural areas that are the heart of our nation, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ensure we build back better, stronger, and more resilient and equitable than ever before.
“For rural communities that lack adequate access to high-speed internet, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers broadband to rural homes, communities and businesses across the country – increasing access to jobs, education, health care, banking, and markets for farmers and rural small businesses. It also upgrades our power infrastructure, improves drinking water, and connects rural communities through upgraded roads and bridges.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests in building resilience to climate change, while creating good-paying jobs to safeguard our communities at risk. The bill helps farmers grappling with intensifying drought and makes the West’s water infrastructure more resilient. Importantly, the bill will increase the scale of wildfire mitigation, funds reforestation projects, and improves post-fire restoration activities so we can better support communities recovering from fire, better manage our forests, and do more to protect our natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities. With investments in environmental remediation, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also advances economic opportunity for hard-hit rural communities affected by legacy pollution such as brownfields and abandoned mines.
“When we work together as Americans, we can lay the foundation for decades of prosperity, especially in rural communities. When rural America reaches its full potential, all of America is better positioned to compete in a global economy. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is evidence that this is achievable and I look forward to working alongside President Biden and Congress to see to it that all of the benefits of this bill touch every corner of our Country.”
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