Friday, April 26, 2013

Senators stress broadband at meeting, plan to start working on Farm Bill next month

Several members of the U.S. Senate's Democratic majority held a "Rural Summit" Thursday in Washington, focusing on ways to improve rural America. Among the main topics were a new Farm Bill, rural development and rural broadband, Shirley Bloomfield reports for NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association.

Most the senators "included access to rural broadband as a key for their state’s economic growth and a number of them referred specifically to the importance of universal service in the mix," Bloomfield reports. Mark Begich of Alaska said it was a priority for him that rural Americans have the same access and capacity as anyone else in America. He also told the "standing-room only crowd that the Universal Service Fund is critical for ongoing services in rural America, such as telemedicine, education and agriculture," Bloomfield reports.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said "she plans to markup a new Farm Bill in committee next month, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced on the Senate floor that the full Senate will take up a five-year Farm Bill in May, along with the Water Resources Development Act," Sara Wyant reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Read more)

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