RECAP: McMorris Rodgers Joins USDA Secretary Perdue in Eastern Washington, Hosts FCC Chairman Pai for Broadband Meeting

SPOKANE, WA – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue yesterday in Liberty Lake for an event on USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program which was made possible by funding allocated in the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. This newly established program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic purchases food from farmers and utilizes local resources to get food boxes directly to families in need. The two visited Share Farm to see how these food boxes are helping meet an important need in Eastern Washington during the time.

In her remarks, McMorris Rodgers emphasized that agriculture is Eastern Washington’s number one industry. She also discussed how this program meets an immediate food security need and gives farmers a win by purchasing excess commodities from local growers that have lost markets during this uncertain time. The program has already distributed more than 10 million boxes to families in need across the country. In her discussions with Secretary Perdue, Cathy used the opportunity to advocate for the need to help wheat and potato growers in USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Learn more about USDA’s efforts during COVID-19 by visiting Farmers.gov/CFAP.

Yesterday, Cathy also hosted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to join Eastern Washington’s Broadband Action Team meeting. After the event, Cathy said, “Everywhere I go in Eastern Washington, one of the top concerns I hear about is the need for rural broadband. It’s basic infrastructure in our 21st Century economy, and especially during this uncertain time, people need to have reliable Internet access at home.”

She continued, “As we work on the federal level to prioritize broadband resources, I’m so thankful to leaders here in Eastern Washington, like the Broadband Action Team, who are working on the ground to connect our communities. I’m pleased that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was able to join today’s meeting to hear from local leaders directly about the great work they are doing and how the FCC and Congress can be effective partners. Under Chairman Pai’s leadership, the FCC has been at the forefront of keeping Americans connected and expanding access to essential services like telehealth during this pandemic, and I look forward to continuing to work with local and federal leaders to get our community the resources we need to close the digital divide.”

“I was pleased to join with Washington State University and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers in this important discussion on expanding broadband in rural and Tribal areas in Washington,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Closing the digital divide is my top priority as Chairman, and I’m excited about the FCC’s recent kickoff of a $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will connect as many as six million American homes and businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the needs of people looking for or doing a job, students who are learning remotely, doctors engaged in telehealth, farmers putting food on the table—all who rely on broadband.  We want to focus on underserved areas of the country, and make sure the people here get the high-speed, high quality broadband they deserve.”

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