White House partners with rural communities as Vilsack travels
The Biden-Harris administration launched the Rural Partners Network, what it calls “a new whole-of-government effort” led by the Agriculture Department to make it easier for rural communities to qualify for federal programs.
In his presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden promised to provide the resources needed to make sure that rural Americans can access federal programs. In an online news conference, White House officials told reporters about the Rural Partners Network, with the news embargoed until 5 a.m. on April 21.
The American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided the resources and it’s now time “to finish the job by making sure we can access the resources,” a White House official told reporters.
It has been difficult for rural officials to use the programs because they are scattered across federal agencies, an official said.
The new “whole-of-government” approach will include deploying federal officials to five states to help communities access federal programs, and having federal agency officials help local officials, community groups and foundations get funding when they request it.
The states that will initially get assistance to attract federal dollars are Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and New Mexico.
The Rural Partners Network will expand to Nevada, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Tribal communities in Alaska in a second phase to launch by the end of August, the officials said.
Today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice will travel to Mississippi as part of the administration’s “Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour.”
Vilsack and Rice will hold events with Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to highlight the administration’s plan to partner with rural places to create economic opportunity, and “underscore its commitment to help rural areas build stronger, more resilient and inclusive communities,” the White House said.
On Thursday, Vilsack and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will travel to Georgia to join House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Ga., to announce projects “to conserve critical local water resources and strengthen their resilience to the impacts of climate change,” the White House said.
“During the month of April, Biden administration officials will travel to dozens of rural communities as part of a Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as the president’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America,” the White House concluded.
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