Thursday, March 04, 2021

Bipartisan bill in House aims to invest in rural areas, revive White House Rural Council that Trump disbanded

A newly reintroduced bipartisan House bill aims to bolster economic opportunities in rural America and reinstate the White House Rural Council that was disbanded in 2017.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and a host of bipartisan sponsors first introduced the Transforming Hiring in Rural Industries and Vital Economies (THRIVE) Act in February 2020 but the bill didn't get anywhere. The co-sponsors for the current version are Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.; Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.; Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.; Jim Costa, D-Calif.; Rick Crawford, R-Ark.; Jahana Hayes, D-Conn.; Ann Kuster, D-N.H.; Tom O'Halleran, D-Ariz.; Chris Pappas, D-N.H.; Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.; and Don Young, R-Alaska.

"Among the programs overseen by the Rural Council was the 'Livable Communities Initiative,' which supported local government efforts to improve transportation and develop housing in small towns," according to a press release from Rogers, who represents Kentucky's Fifth District, one of the nation's most rural. "The Council also worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education to provide online educational resources for teachers and students in rural communities, which was bolstered at the time by a $2 billion commitment by the Federal Communications Commission for broadband deployment across the country. Additionally, the Rural Council launched the National Water Quality Initiative to work with farmers to improve conservation of working lands and ensure they can be used for years to come."

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