Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., said today he’s hopeful Senate Democrats and Republicans can come together to pass an infrastructure package that will include funding for broadband and emerging technologies.
During Axios’ “News Shapers: Biden’s 100th Day” event, Hickenlooper said broadband and emerging technologies can be a common ground for both Democrats and Republicans and he hopes to “turbocharge” the economy by investing in these areas.
“My goal would be to put together a pretty robust infrastructure project, so we don’t have to go back and fight battle after battle after battle, but I also place a very high priority on some form of bipartisan solution,” Sen. Hickenlooper said.
“I mean, broadband. Both sides agree that we need broadband. Roads and bridges, both sides agree we need that. Science, you know, we’ve got to invest more money to push back against the Chinese and other countries in terms of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, all those things. We’re kind of losing that battle on a global scale,” he added. “That’s infrastructure. Those are the obvious ones and let’s get that part of it together and then see how much more we can find agreement on.”
Hickenlooper stressed he doesn’t want to “put a Band-Aid” on the United States’ infrastructure, but instead create opportunities for economic and job growth.
The proposed Republican infrastructure framework envisions $568 billion of investments over five years, versus President Biden’s proposal which clocks in with a $2 trillion price tag. On the broadband front, the GOP plan offers $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, compared to $100 billion under the Biden plan.
“This is that moment where we’ve got to create jobs, we’ve got to get people back to work, we’ve got to rejuvenate this economy, and turbocharge it,” he said. “And to do that, I don’t want to underfund the infrastructure we’re going to build.”
Sen. Hickenlooper sits on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has a range of tech issues in its purview. It’s home to the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, which Hickenlooper also sits on.