Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan led a group of fellow Democrats in releasing a report on the impact of COVID-19 in rural America. The report was put together by the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which Stabenow chairs.
The Hagstrom Report says senators from Minnesota, West Virginia, and Montana joined Stabenow on a conference call, and they pointed out that the coronavirus is later in coming to rural America but is now spreading rapidly. The senators repeatedly brought up the issue of broadband internet access during the conference call.
“Tele-health is a wonderful thing if you have internet service,” said Joe Manchin of West Virginia. “But worthless for those people who don’t have access to the internet.”
Some of the highlights from the Democratic plan for responding to COVID-19 include widespread, rapid testing to save lives, contain the spread, and reopen the economy. It also includes immediate high-speed internet funding to close the digital divide and deploy high-speed internet across the country.
The senators also requested protections for the food supply and food industry workers, as well as expedited support for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses to help them weather the crisis.