Distributed by Libby Schneider at the DNC
Fellow Rural Democrats,
As I mentioned a few weeks ago when President Biden announced his American Jobs Plan, this is a once in a generation opportunity for rural America. I wanted to make sure you had the rural specific impacts of this important legislation so that you can help talk to your networks and neighbors about how good this bill is for our communities.
As always, thanks for all you do.
Libby Schneider – DNC National Rural Political Director
How the American Jobs Plan Will Create Jobs in Rural America
Today, despite the fact that rural and Tribal communities across the country are asset-rich, more than 8 in 10 persistent poverty counties fall outside of a metropolitan area. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan directly invests in rural and Tribal communities, including by providing 100% broadband coverage, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure like roads and water systems, and positioning the U.S. agricultural sector to lead the shift to net-zero emissions while providing new economic opportunities for farmers.
President Biden is proposing to transform the way the federal
government partners with rural and Tribal communities to create jobs
government partners with rural and Tribal communities to create jobs and spur inclusive economic growth. Rural communities often don’t have the same budget as big cities to hire staff needed to navigate and access federal programs. On top of that, they have to navigate a myriad of programs all with different purposes and requirements.
As part of his plan to ensure that all communities recover – regardless of geography – President Biden is proposing $5 billion for a new Rural Partnership Program to help rural regions, including Tribal Nations, build on their unique assets and realize their vision for inclusive community and economic development. This program will empower rural regions by supporting locally-led planning and capacity building efforts, and providing flexible funding to meet critical needs.
Other investments in the American Jobs Plan to strengthen and create jobs in rural communities include:
Broadband. The President’s plan to close the digital divide invests up to $100 billion in broadband infrastructure, including funding to provide 100% broadband coverage in rural America and make it affordable for all Americans. These funds will prioritize broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and rural co operatives while creating good-paying jobs in local communities.
Position the U.S. Agricultural Sector to Lead the Shift to Net-Zero. The President’s plan includes a $1 billion investment for agricultural resources management and climate-smart technologies that will open new market opportunities for farmers.
Water Infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan invests in programs for small and rural water systems, including more than $10 billion for grants and loans for rural or tribal communities, including disadvantaged communities.
Rural Housing. The President’s plan invests $2 billion in the USDA Rural Development housing programs to assist low-income rural borrowers and renters secure safe, decent homes.
Fixing Rural Bridges. As part of a historic investment to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure, the President’s plan focuses $20 billion over five years exclusively on the smaller,
off-system bridges, many in rural areas, that would address 12,000 of the
off-system bridges, many in rural areas, that would address 12,000 of the 30,000 off-system bridges currently in poor condition.
Forest Restoration. To maximize the resilience of land and water resources to protect communities and the environment, this President’s plan invests in USDA resilient forest restoration projects in the west for thinning, prescribed fire, and reforestation efforts.
Drought Resilience for Farmers. To defend communities vulnerable to drought and support their recovery from disaster, the President’s plan invests in drought resilience technology for agricultural producers.
Remediate and Redevelop Idle Rural Property. In rural communities around the country, former industrial and energy sites are now idled — sources of blight and pollution. Through a historic investment in the remediation and redevelopment of these Brownfield and Superfund sites in rural and urban communities, as well as related economic and workforce development, President Biden’s plan will turn this idle real property into new hubs of economic growth and job creation.
Spur the Buildout of Critical Physical, Social, and Civic Infrastructure in Distressed and Disadvantaged Communities. President Biden’s plan will bring distressed and disadvantaged communities in rural America new critical physical, social, and civic infrastructure. This means investing $14 billion in the Economic Development Agency’s Public Works program (while lifting the cap of $3 million on projects) and in USDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development “Main Street” grant initiatives. President Biden’s plan will also spur targeted sustainable, economic development efforts through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative and Department of Energy retooling grants for idled factories (through the Section 132 program).
Manufacturing Credit Programs. The President’s plan provides USDA with $15 billion for subsidized credit programs focused on manufacturing, including the Rural Development Section 9003 Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program and the Business and Industry Guarantee Loan Program.
Support Research and Development Programs. As part of a historic investment in science, research, and development, the President’s plan
invests in basic science research at USDA through the Agricultural
invests in basic science research at USDA through the Agricultural Research Service, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In addition, the proposal calls for an expansion of federal R&D funding to universities, including land grant universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and further support for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to improve access to research funding.
Regional Innovation Hubs with Rural Connections. The President’s plan funds 10 new regional innovation hubs across the country that will leverage private investment to fuel
technology development and new regional business opportunities and foster urban-rural connections.
Community Revitalization. A $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund will support innovative, community-led redevelopment projects in rural and urban areas that spark new economic activity, provide services and amenities, build community wealth, and close the current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color and rural residents.
Plugging Orphan Wells and Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines. Hundreds of thousands of former orphan oil and gas wells and abandoned mines pose serious safety hazards while also causing ongoing air and water contamination and other environmental damage. Many of these old wells and mines are located in rural communities that have suffered from years of disinvestment. President Biden’s plan includes an immediate up-front investment that will put 250,000 people to work in union jobs plugging oil and gas wells and restoring and reclaiming abandoned coal, hardrock, and uranium mines.
Build Next Generation Industries in Distressed Communities. President Biden believes that the market-based shift towards clean energy presents enormous opportunities for the development of new markets and new industries. For example, by pairing an investment in 15 hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities with a new production tax credit, we can spur capital-project retrofits and installation that bolster and decarbonize our industry. His plan will also establish 10 pioneer facilities that demonstrate carbon capture retrofits
for large steel, cement, and chemical production, in addition to large-
for large steel, cement, and chemical production, in addition to large-
scale sequestration efforts in line with the bipartisan SCALE Act and enhancements to the 45Q tax credit.
Rural Transportation Infrastructure Projects. The President’s infrastructure plan expands investments in the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) and Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants, of which at least $3 billion would go to support infrastructure projects in rural areas.
Transition Rural Co-Ops to Clean Energy. As part of a nationwide plan to modernize our power infrastructure, the President’s proposal will invest $10 billion to partner with rural electric cooperatives that are eager to benefit from low-cost clean energy, by retiring expensive and polluting power plants and replacing them with modern systems – improving public health and supporting good jobs at the same time.
Dedicated Funding for Tribal Lands. The President’s plan includes dedicated funding for largely rural tribal areas across many programs. The President’s plan funds critical water infrastructure needs in Indian Country as well as tribal water settlements. This plan will ensure significant funds are set aside for broadband infrastructure on tribal lands and that tribal nations are consulted in program administration. It also dedicates funding to Native American homeownership and affordable housing rental opportunities in tribal areas and it will more than double the Tribal Transportation Program to provide safe and adequate transportation and public road access to and within tribal areas.
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