8:37 PM EDT
Chris Gibson, R-NY 19th

Mr. GIBSON. Mr. Chairman, I want to say to our chairman of the Agriculture Committee and to our staff, I deeply appreciate all the work on this farm bill. I am proud to have been associated with it.

I will say to the gentleman from Georgia, who just moments ago cited data from about a decade ago and then a report from 2009, I acknowledge the challenges with the program. However, as the gentleman mentioned, a couple of developments that have occurred are, first of all, implementation that has occurred just several months ago that addressed the points that were made in an IG report, and also the fact that in the underlying language--and I will thank the chairman--we incorporated other measures

that deal with transparency and clarification that were talking about unserved areas.

So I would say to the gentleman, and I appreciate him very much, but I want to tell you that this program is really important to districts like mine. The FCC claims that there are up to 19 million Americans who do not have access to high-speed broadband. The place that I represent in upstate New York, we've got many communities that don't have access to high-speed broadband. A program such as this has been helpful and will be helpful going forward.

I want to remind everyone--it is worth pointing out--that this is a loan program that is paid back with interest. This expanding broadband helps us not only with job creation, but it helps us with health care delivery, it helps us with education, and overall quality of life. I know that even in your own State this has been a program that has done some good, certainly needed reform, and has happened, reform has come about.

What I would say to the gentleman is I appreciate his concern for the taxpayer, I share that concern, and believe that we have made significant progress with regard to transparency, efficacy in the program, and want to see us continue this program because we need to move forward and continue to--just as we did with electrification for this country--to see all communities have access to high-speed broadband.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.