Congress finally passed the Infrastructure Deal late Friday night. Some Republicans joined Democrats to pass it, but all 3 of our Republican Representatives in our area voted against it. We spoke with Congressman Thompson on Saturday outside the Centre Film Festival. He says he gave the Infrastructure Bill a thumbs down primarily due to it not addressing Broadband enough in his eyes.
Congressman Thomson saying: “Rural Broadband. We know coming out of 2020, I believe that is the #1 Infrastructure that we have in the Country, and we need to bridge the Digital Divide.” Thompson said $43-44 Billion would be needed to bridge almost all of that divide. Thompson adding: “This Bill offers $2 Billion. And it offers $2 Billion over 10 years and with the rate of inflation we are seeing right now, I don’t think it accomplishes anything.”
Thompson, the Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee, says the Committee on July 14th passed a Bi-Partisan Bill that addressed Rural Broadband. Thompson saying: “It provided the amount of money that would be needed. The Innovation, The Resources, the Local Communities to get this done. And it passed Unanimously. Every Republican and Every Democrat, and that was ignored in this Bill that really just barely scraped through last evening.”
Thompson, like most other Republicans, also felt that the Bill wasn’t Bi-Partisan enough. Thompson adding: “Well, it came out as somewhat Bi-Partisan out of the Senate, but it was not well thought out. And I know that there is a need for Infrastructure and my criticism is that the Senate Republicans who voted for that were just desperate to do something, and I think that’s a bad attitude.”
On top of all that, the Republican from Bellefonte had another concern, Cryptocurrency. The Bill places a Tax on Cryptocurrency transactions. Thompson saying: “Cryptocurrency is already taxed. If you make a profit, you realize the Capital Gains, as it should be. But to Tax every transaction with Cryptocurrency? Whether you understand Cryptocurrency or not, whether you like it or not, it’s here. And it is a growing significant part of our Economy.” Since the Agriculture Committee has Jurisdiction over Cryptocurrency, Thompson feels this provision alone could potentially hold the United States back, mentioning El Salvador giving Bitcoin legal tender status back in June, the first Country to do so.
President Biden said Friday night that he wants to sign the Infrastructure Bill “soon.”