WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn delivered the following remarks today on the Floor in advance of the U.S. House of Representatives' vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
Click image to watch the full floor statement.
"Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Chairman DeFazio, for your leadership.
"The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make critical investments not just in roads and bridges—this legislation will also invest in transit, rail, electric vehicle charging stations, electric buses, airports, ports, water, energy, environmental remediation, and high-speed broadband internet. I will focus on this last category—the $65 billion for broadband.
"Millions of Americans are not connected to the internet. In my home state of South Carolina, nearly 1 in 10 households lack access to an internet connection, and even more cannot afford service. As a result, they cannot work remotely, cannot learn remotely, and cannot access telehealth. The internet is as essential to the 21st century as electricity was to the 20th century, and far too many Americans are left out.
"That is why I worked closely with the House Rural Broadband Task Force, Chairman Pallone, and members of the Energy & Commerce Committee to craft comprehensive legislation to make high-speed broadband accessible and affordable for all. Our bill passed the House last Congress as part of the Moving Forward Act.
"While the legislation we are considering today doesn’t include that bill in its entirety, and more action will be required, it does incorporate many of our bill’s essential principles. It gives preference to future-focused infrastructure, prioritizes persistent poverty communities, and includes oversight and accountability mechanisms.
"The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also invests in affordability and adoption. It requires an affordable option to be offered on newly funded networks, extends the monthly discount on internet bills, and funds digital equity and inclusion projects.
"Throughout our nation’s history, communities in most need of federal funds have all too often been last in line.
"Together with the Build Back Better Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make America’s greatness affordable and accessible for far more Americans. I urge passage of this critical legislation."