Sens. Cruz, Wicker, Commerce Committee GOP Members Urge Leader Schumer to Follow Regular Order to Expand Broadband Access
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and seven of their committee colleagues sent a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to move any broadband-related provisions through the committee process.
In the letter, the senators wrote:
"Over the past year, billions of dollars have been appropriated to multiple agencies to expand broadband access across the country. Although no formal accounting has been conducted to evaluate how or where that money has been spent, efforts are underway to spend billions more on broadband."
Additional co-signers of the letter include Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
This letter is part of ongoing efforts to ensure broadband resources are spent prudently and avoid the mistakes of past stimulus efforts that ultimately led to significant waste and overbuilding, but which still left millions of Americans unconnected.
Read the full text of their letter here and below.
Dear Leader Schumer:
We write to urge you to work through regular order to advance broadband-related provisions in any bipartisan infrastructure legislation. While we appreciate the ongoing efforts by our colleagues to expand broadband access, advancing broadband legislative proposals through the committee of jurisdiction, with subject matter expertise, is critical to ensuring that resources are appropriately targeted to communities in need, and any new broadband programs are implemented with the proper oversight and avoid wasting taxpayer dollars.
Over the past year, billions of dollars have been appropriated to multiple agencies to expand broadband access across the country. Although no formal accounting has been conducted to evaluate how or where that money has been spent, efforts are underway to spend billions more on broadband.
We recognize the importance of expanding high-speed and reliable internet access to all Americans and closing the digital divide. We also support allocating necessary resources to expert federal agencies to achieve that objective. Yet, we fear that rushed legislative efforts that bypass the committee's deliberative process and technical analysis will ultimately repeat the failures of past broadband programs. These failures included rampant overbuilding, duplication of existing private and public sector investments, unfinished projects, and millions of unconnected Americans.
To avoid another missed opportunity, we urge you to move broadband legislation through the committee process for consideration. This is a vital step to developing a legislative product that will actually deliver broadband services to every American, promote continued competition and investment in the broadband industry, and increase digital opportunity for all.