It was a night of sharp political divisions as almost each sentence of the president’s State of the Union address sent Republican members of the House and Senate to their feet and left Democrats sitting with somber expressions.
One of the few instances that drew cheers from everyone in the room occurred about 51 minutes into the speech, when President Trump declared, “We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure. I ask you to pass Senator John Barrasso’s [R-WY] highway bill to invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels all across our land,” according to the New York Times transcript of the address. “I’m also committed to ensuring that every citizen can have access to high-speed internet, including and especially in rural America.”
In past years’ State of the Union speeches, Trump has not mentioned the need for rural internet or the various federal programs to fund broadband projects. The bipartisan support members of Congress showed last night suggest that the issue will remain a priority for both parties, regardless of who wins the 2020 elections.
NRTC currently is working with many of its members to explore ways to win funding in the FCC’s first $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund reverse auction, expected to begin before the end of the year. We also are eager to help members obtain support through other federal and state broadband programs. Contact us if you would like to learn more.