8:41 PM EDT
Rob Wittman, R-VA 1st

Mr. WITTMAN. I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I have the privilege every evening to travel back to the northern neck of Virginia. It's just an hour and a half from D.C., and that area is not served by broadband. We all know how important it is to have that service. Folks there are stuck with 1990s' technology--dial-up. If you've ever had to deal with that, you know how frustrating that is. We know for rural areas that economic development, job creation and educational opportunities are all tied to broadband access. Granted,

there may be challenges with the Rural Utilities Service program, but, nonetheless, those areas need that particular service. I want to make sure that they get that.

That's why I oppose this amendment, and I understand the gentleman's frustration with that. The RUS Broadband Loan Program does provide the needed leverage to fund construction. It also provides the ability to improve our systems in these areas and to acquire the facilities and equipment that are needed to provide broadband to these communities.

Folks, this is absolutely critical. This amendment, unfortunately, takes us away from that. I want to make sure that reforms are put in place so the system works, not taking away that opportunity for our rural areas.