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Sewell, Dems secure $1.4 billion for broadband; Tuberville praises bill he voted against

State leaders are happy to get the much needed funding, but Alabama’s GOP congressional delegation played no role.

President Joe Biden blows a kiss to the crowd alongside Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., left, in Selma, Ala., Sunday, March 5, 2023, during an event to commemorate the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a landmark event of the civil rights movement. AP Photo/Julie Bennett
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As Sen. Tommy Tuberville and the entire Republican delegation from the state of Alabama were fighting tooth and nail last year against an infrastructure package pushed by President Joe Biden, Rep. Terri Sewell and Democrats continued to push forward and passed the bill mostly along party lines. 

On Tuesday, the press releases and statements from the Republicans who fought against the bill started to flow – all of them touting the “vital” and “tremendous” amount of funding headed to the state for broadband expansion. 

In total, because Biden and Democrats didn’t play red-blue politics with the funding and instead based allocations on state needs, Alabama is set to receive a whopping $1.4 billion to help connect even the state’s most rural areas. 

“In our 21st century economy, access to reliable high-speed internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity,” said Sewell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re devoting more resources than ever before to expanding broadband, closing the digital divide, and ensuring that every Alabamian can connect to high-speed internet. These funds will be a game-changer for our state, and I look forward to working with ADECA to ensure that they are equitably distributed to HBCUs and underserved communities, including in Birmingham and the Black Belt.”

Despite being the only member of Alabama’s congressional delegation to vote in favor of the package, Sewell was not the only one praising it Wednesday. In addition to Gov. Kay Ivey praising the incoming funds, there was also a tweet from Alabama’s now-senior senator.

Broadband is vital for the success of our rural communities and for our entire economy. Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville tweeted. Tuberville voted against the deal and issued a lengthy statement at the time calling it “the Green New Deal in disguise” and predicting that it would increase inflation and lead to a loss of jobs. 

None of that happened. 

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Recent figures released by Federal Reserve Economic Data show the U.S. leading the way in the global economic recovery, with inflation dropping much faster in America than elsewhere around the globe. At the same time, America’s GDP growth has outpaced the rest of the world as well. 

Additionally, job creation under Biden has outpaced all expectations and the other G7 countries. Since taking office, the Biden administration has seen more than 13 million jobs created, and the infrastructure package passed by Democrats has generally been viewed by economists as a major boost to those numbers. 

The fact that Tuberville and other Republicans were so happy to accept the funds they tried to kill wasn’t a surprise to at least one former Alabama senator. 

“… not a single Republican member of the Alabama delegation voted for this legislation,” tweeted former Sen. Doug Jones. “To my knowledge not a single Republican state leader expressed support either. But I bet they will damn sure take credit when it’s installed.”

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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