Earlier this week, the Senate voted 60-39 to pass a sweeping $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Included in the legislation is $65 billion earmarked for broadband expansion — aligned with the America’s New Business Plan recommendation to improve connection to the digital economy for all entrepreneurs. The bill also designates 10% of new spending for small firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
The bill passed by the Senate has the potential to support entrepreneurs and their communities, generating business and stimulating local economic development. And against the backdrop of divisive party politics, the bipartisan cooperation is a reminder of what’s possible when policymakers work together.
Members of the Start Us Up coalition weighed in on the news this week.
Small Business Majority Lauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that will Help Small Businesses Grow and Thrive; Disappointed Small Business Emergency Funds Used to Pay for Bill
Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer released a statement in response to the bill’s passage, citing survey research that demonstrates declining business conditions and noting that “small businesses need a healthy public infrastructure to obtain supplies, get their goods to market, enable their employees to work efficiently and survive extreme weather events.” He also notes that while “the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a necessary first step to economic recovery, we are disappointed that the package will be paid for in part by pulling billions of much-needed dollars from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan programs.”
Startups Stand to Benefit From Infrastructure Bill’s Broadband Push
Sean Davis, policy manager for Engine Advocacy & Foundation, recently covered the broadband provisions of the infrastructure bill. Beyond investments in state broadband, he highlights the $2.75 billion for digital inclusion and broadband adoption efforts such as digital skills training, devices, and covering the costs of Internet connection for low-income households. He applauds the bill, noting it will help “secure the future for many early-stage companies by ensuring broadband is affordable, building out the necessary infrastructure to increase connectivity, and developing opportunities for jobs of the future.”
Business Wants Congress To Pass The Bipartisan Infrastructure Package: Here Is 5 Ways It Will Help Your Business
Prior to its passage, Public Private Strategies Executive Director Rhett Buttle advocated for the infrastructure bill, saying the legislation will position “small businesses to compete in the 21st Century.” He discusses five aspects of the bill, including: broadband connection, investment in power infrastructure, transit modernization, road and bridge repairs, and eliminating dangerous lead pipes to provide cleaner access to drinking water.