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Agricultural News

Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts Calls FCC Chair a "Fearless Advocate" at Reappointment Hearing

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 10:33:27 CDT

Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts Calls FCC Chair a Calling him a fearless advocate who understands rural Americans’ communications challenges, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today introduced Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai of Parsons, Kan., at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on his reappointment to the FCC. For audio and video go here.

Last year, Chairman Pai joined Senator Roberts at a rural broadband roundtable in Allen, Kan., with rural telecom providers to discuss the importance of high-speed broadband in economic development throughout rural America.

As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Roberts has jurisdiction over every broadband loan and grant program administered by the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services (RUS). The FCC plays a complementary role to USDA in broadband deployment by providing rural telecom carriers access to Universal Service Fund subsidies to build and maintain broadband infrastructure in rural parts of the country. Almost all USDA telecom loan borrowers receive subsidy support through the FCC.

The following are Senator Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Nelson, and members of the Committee. It is a great privilege for me to introduce a friend and fellow Kansan, Ajit Pai, for his reappointment to the Federal Communications Commission.

“It isn’t often that I find myself on this side of the dais, but I have to imagine, Ajit, that on an occasion such as this, I must be calmer than you are.

“It’s hard to believe more than five years have already passed since Senator Moran and I introduced Ajit for his first confirmation hearing to serve at the FCC.

“At that hearing in 2011, I highlighted his impressive professional background both in government and the private sector - a background that made clear he was a talented young man capable of leadership at the highest levels.

“But today, having served as commissioner and now Chairman at the FCC, Ajit’s record of success speaks for itself.

“In his time at the FCC, he has taken on the dreaded robocalls. He has increased transparency and accountability by releasing commission documents to the public prior to agency votes. He has traveled the country highlighting challenges and opportunities for rural consumers who currently lack sufficient access to broadband.

“So more than anything, I want to thank him for his dedicated work on behalf of consumers across the country and especially for Kansans.

“Ajit, I want to thank you for joining me in Allen, Kansas, last fall to highlight the importance of the work rural providers are doing to connect families and small businesses in rural communities to the broadband that is so vital to success in today’s economy.

“As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, I regularly hear from farmers and ranchers who have come to rely on broadband to run their operations and connect to customers and markets around the world.

“And I take heart in the fact that those constituents who feed the nation and the world have a fearless advocate at the helm of the FCC who understands the great challenges that lie ahead in closing the digital divide between rural and urban communities.

“So to my colleagues on this committee, I urge a swift confirmation for my friend and proud Kansan - Ajit Pai.”

Source - The Office of Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas



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