The U.S. House of Representatives has officially passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by a vote of 228 to 206. Back in August, the Senate had passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 30. The bipartisan infrastructure package will address multiple areas of need for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Several agricultural groups have issued messages of support for the legislation moving one step closer to being signed by President Joe Biden.
“Western fresh produce growers and indeed farmers throughout the West have reason to celebrate passage of this bipartisan infrastructure bill. The inclusion of $8 billion dedicated to addressing critical water supply needs will provide significant benefits for family farmers and rural communities across the West experiencing climate change impacts, historic drought, regulatory pressures and wildfire,” Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia said in a press release. “The funding for additional water, forestry and ecosystem restoration programs is vital to safeguarding our domestic agricultural production and long-term food security.”
Passage of the infrastructure investment bill is also being supported by groups including the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the Agricultural Retailers Association, the National Farmers Union, and the National Corn Growers Association. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the bill as “a tremendous opportunity to build up rural America with wealth that stays in rural communities.” The $1.2 trillion investment package includes significant funding for improvements to water systems and bolstering rural broadband opportunities.
“We appreciate Congress finally passing crucial bipartisan infrastructure legislation. We cannot afford to ignore the millions of miles of roadways, waterways and railways rural America relies on to keep our country fed, especially as we see widespread supply chain challenges,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Bipartisan efforts such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provide commonsense solutions to our nation’s infrastructure challenges, and we look forward to seeing the bill signed into law.”