Three Cheers for Rural
(This post first went out in our Advocacy newsletter. Want to get actionable, rural advocacy news? Sign up here for a weekly dose of rural advocacy updates from the Rural Assembly.)
Today we invite you to pause your rural advocacy efforts for a wee moment and join us in celebrating some solid good news on multiple fronts:
Yay for Digital Equity!
Last week marked the culmination decades-worth of activism for equitable infrastructure improvements in rural America. The House passed the Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2021, committing billions of dollars toward bridging the digital divide in this country. Alongside our friends at Broadband Connects America, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Public Knowledge, and beyond, we raise a glass to this giant leap forward. Among other things, this bipartisan legislation will strengthen digital inclusion through investment in the Digital Equity Act, the Broadband Benefit, Tribal Connectivity Program and a host of other important opportunities.
Yay for Vaccinations!
COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for children ages 5 and older, and there’s a renewed opportunity to strengthen our immunity and turn the tide on this pandemic. Within the last week, the FDA has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has met the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5 through 11 years. This is a gamechanger for parents, guardians, and the hardest hit communities in our country. We appreciate the good resources offered by our partners like Health Action Alliance and the Covid-19 Community Corps, providing the latest recommendations for employers, businesses, families and communities.
Yay for the potential Rural Partnership Program!
The Rural Partnership Program, which would allocate $4 billion over the next ten years, remains whole in the budget reconciliation package. Several other measures with big implications for rural residents are included in the reconciliation bill as well, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. We know there is more work to do to ensure rural people and places realize equitable futures, but it’s also good medicine to toast the wins! Thank you for all you do in the world. We celebrate you!