Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will fund key Commerce initiatives, including universal broadband, climate resiliency and permanent authorization of MBDA
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo applauded the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Department of Commerce will fund key priorities that will benefit American workers and businesses, including $65 billion to expand broadband to rural and underserved communities across the U.S., with $48 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA); funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to increase climate resiliency and restore and improve coastal habitats; and permanent authorization and increased funding for the Minority Businesses Development Agency (MBDA) to promote the growth, development, and resiliency of minority-owned businesses.
“For too long we’ve neglected investments in critical areas that directly impact American workers, American businesses and American families. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a transformational piece of legislation that is going to grow our economy, position our workers and businesses to compete and win in the 21st century, and create millions of good-paying, middle-class jobs.
“In particular, I am passionate about the historic investments to ensure all Americans have access to reliable, affordable broadband. 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.
“But the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act alone is not enough to restore our nation’s competitiveness and lay the groundwork for the next generation of economic prosperity. We also need to pass and implement the Build Back Better Act to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. One area I’ve been fighting for are investments in our care economy, which are essential to getting Americans, especially women, back to work after the pandemic disproportionately pulled women out of the workforce. Investments in affordable child care, universal Pre-K, elder care and long term care would support both access to care and care workers while also ensuring that we are raising wages and increasing opportunities for those who take care of our loved ones.”
“I am thankful for the leadership from both House and Senate, and to President Biden who laid out his vision of how to build our economy back stronger, and more equitably. I also want to recognize the support from the business community and labor leaders on these issues. These bills are a huge win for Americans, and I look forward to getting to work to implement these important programs.”
The Department of Commerce is an executive department of the federal government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, and helping to set industrial standards.