On again. Off again. Ups and downs. Now, for the first time in a long time, there seems to be real bipartisanship on a significant piece of legislation in Congress.
Yes, we are talking about infrastructure.
We’ve covered it extensively here on 4 The Record in recent weeks.
The $1 trillion plan cleared arguably its most important hurdle — the filibuster.
The vote merely opens the bill up for debate in the Senate.
But, the actual legislation can now pass with a simple majority.
We won’t go into the details now — except for one.
That is the $65 billion it includes for expanding internet access to rural areas.
We bring that up because it’s particularly relevant to new responsibilities for Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.
This week the congresswoman was named co-chair of the new Rural Reinvestment Task Force.
Her co-chair is Congresswoman Cindy Axne of Iowa.
The new Democrat Coalition appointed her to the position.
The coalition is the largest Democratic Caucus in Congress.
It’s like the name sounds.
The Rural Reinvestment Task Force will focus on relevant issues in rural areas like broadband internet, modernizing systems and rural health — among others.
This new responsibility comes after Bustos announced she will leave Congress at the end of her current term.
The new leadership role could pay dividends for her congressional district, including this section of western Illinois.
Bustos joined this week’s 4 The Record for a conversation.
The task force is one of three just created by the new Democrat Coalition.
Bustos discussed why she feels it’s important to take on this responsibility, how hard the decision to take the assignment was given your decision to leave Congress at the end of her term, what specific policies she expects to come out of it and what her priorities are.
A lot of the focus will be on delivering better internet access to areas with low populations.
We know that’s a problem in areas of Illinois that she represents, as well as Iowa.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill that now seems to have enough support to pass the Senate would provide $65 billion for expanding broadband to rural areas.
Bustos addressed if she thinks that’s enough and how much influence the task force will have when it comes to targeting exactly how the money is spent.
Watch the full conversation in the video above.
Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.