WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 11, 2021) – Today, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework yesterday:
“Today, we applaud the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed the Senate by a vote of 69-30. This historic $1.2 trillion federal investment will create new jobs, connect millions of American children, families, and communities to affordable and reliable high-speed internet, and provide much-needed support to minority-owned businesses. It represents the biggest federal investment in infrastructure this country has seen in a generation.
“We are pleased that the Senate bill includes several recommendations reflected in the National Urban League’s Main Street Marshall Plan and Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion. The National Urban League has fought tirelessly for these priorities, and others, to be included in the infrastructure package:
- $65 billion to increase access to broadband in hard-to-reach rural communities and low-income urban areas including $14 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program that provides a $30 monthly benefit to participating households, and $2.75 billion for digital equity and inclusion programs;
- Increased support for Minority-owned businesses by making the Minority Business Development Agency under the Department of Commerce permanent and expanding the agency’s capacity to develop and sustain Minority-owned businesses while helping to build a diverse pipeline of entrepreneurial talent;
- Allocating funding to minority business development grants for community and national nonprofit organizations, which would be instrumental in the nation’s effort to restore Minority-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic and give aspiring entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed; and
- 650,000 in new, high-skill, high-paying jobs to provide much-needed support to underserved workers who have lost jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This legislation will help restore the middle class, build generational wealth, and increase the quality of life for all Americans. It will also help revitalize America’s infrastructure and give workers, families, students, and small businesses the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century.
“We urge the House to swiftly consider this bill and the forthcoming budget reconciliation bill, which will invest in America’s human infrastructure. Together, these measures will ensure that the nation emerges from the pandemic into a new normal where all Americans have the opportunity for economic prosperity.”