WASHINGTON, August 1, 2017 — President Donald Trump is committed to moving an infrastructure bill this year despite making little legislative progress towards on other policy goals, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday.
“The President has been very outspoken on the need for a massive overhaul to the country’s infrastructure system,” Sanders said during Monday’s White House press briefing. “That’s certainly still a priority both legislative and in any capacity that he has the ability to carry that out.”
Earlier this month Trump signed an executive order establishing a new American Infrastructure Council, which will bring together industry leaders in a number of areas, including broadband infrastructure, to formulate policy proposals for revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure.
Before the council, Trump had made little mention of broadband. The only exception was a speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa — see also statements by Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue — pledging to improve rural America’s internet access.
Trump’s reliance on executive orders to take action as Congress enters its annual August recess without handing the President a single legislative victory stands in stark contrast to President Barack Obama, who had passed significant infrastructure legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, less than one month in office.
But Trump administration officials were lacking in details in discussing the former real estate developer’s plans for moving America’s infrastructure into the 21st century.
The only person in White House who has been identified as working on digital-related infrastructure is National Economic Council staffer Grace Koh.
Koh, who previously served as counsel to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission and Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, has worked on broadband issues as policy counsel to Cox Enterprises.
But when asked what sort of work the Trump Administration was doing to improve the nation’s access to broadband Internet, Koh declined to comment, and referred BroadbandBreakfast.com to White House spokesperson Natalie Strom.
When asked for details on the Trump Administration’s plans for broadband — either fiber or wireless — Strom replied that “we’re just not able to get into that level of detail yet,” promising updates in the future.