Spanberger Secures Major Investment in Broadband Internet Projects in U.S. House-Passed Funding Legislation, Votes to Pass with Bipartisan Majority
Funding Legislation Includes Additional Provisions the Congresswoman Fought to Secure, Including Increased Support for Veteran Suicide Prevention & the State Department’s FASTC Facility in Nottoway County
Washington, July 24, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a funding package that would expand funding for rural broadband internet projects, strengthen support for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and protect Central Virginia’s natural resources.
In March 2020, Spanberger led a coalition of more than 80 Democrats and Republicans in asking for strengthened funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) ReConnect Program. The funding legislation passed today in the House would provide $990 million for the ReConnect Program, which supports high-speed broadband internet projects across the United States — including in Central Virginia. This amount marks a 78-percent increase in funding from last year’s budget.
Spanberger has long fought to protect and expand the USDA’s ReConnect Program and close the digital divide across Central Virginia. Last year, she successfully led the fight to protect ReConnect funding from elimination. And in February 2020, she announced $28 million in ReConnect funding for broadband internet projects in Central Virginia — including in Louisa, Orange, Goochland, and Powhatan Counties.
“The ReConnect Program is providing rural communities across the country — including in Central Virginia — with the opportunity to keep families connected, small businesses competitive, and students engaged. Especially in this moment of uncertainty, we’re reminded daily of the progress that has yet to be made on tackling the digital divide,” said Spanberger. “This major increase in ReConnect funding would allow additional businesses and communities to apply for much-needed investments in broadband infrastructure. I’m also proud to see many of Central Virginia’s priorities included in the funding package we passed today, including a focus on the FASTC training facility in Nottoway County, increased funding for veterans’ suicide prevention, and additional support for conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Funding bills are reflections of our priorities, and I hope the Senate will move quickly to sign off on these priorities.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. House voted to pass infrastructure-focused legislation that includes U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s priorities to expand high-speed internet access across the country, as well as her amendment to ensure that new broadband networks are built to provide customers with sufficient upload and download speeds.
The funding package passed today in the House includes additional priorities Spanberger fought to include to support Central Virginia’s economy, environment, and veterans, including: