RAPID CITY, S.D. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack making the rounds promoting President Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic plan.
Biden claiming the bill will create jobs, lower taxes, and reduce costs for working families by raising taxes on wealthy corporations.
A key element of reconciliation is addressing workforce development, by investing in training programs and reducing the cost of higher education.
“It means a worker who may need to upgrade their skills doesn’t have to worry about whether they can afford to do so – they now have tuition free assistance if this bill gets passed,” Secretary Vilsack says.
The $3.5 trillion dollar price tag includes expansions for rural broadband access – a problem exacerbated nationwide by the COVID-19 pandemic – with students in rural and tribal areas facing the hurdle of remote learning with limited or no internet access.
Secretary Vilsack says, “Rural broadband – look – you can’t have economic development without it…you can’t have the 21st century economy without it…and still today far too many communities to do not have access to high speed internet…it’s one thing to have access when the upload speeds are very, very slow – at the end of the day, you have to have meaningful access.”
The Senate has passed a bipartisan $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committing a deadline of September 27 to vote.
Previously, Pelosi’s goal had been to pass Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan simultaneously with the bipartisan bill, but threats from centrists thwarted that plan.