Curtis Rural Broadband Bills Introduced in GOP House E&C Package

Curtis Rural Broadband Bills Introduced in GOP House E&C Package

February 19,  2021

Washington, DC—Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after two of his bills were introduced in a comprehensive package of 28 bills that aim to turbocharge public and private investment by promoting new and upgraded infrastructure deployments, boosting competition, streamlining permitting processes, facilitating broadband deployment on federal lands, and closing the digital divide in both rural and urban areas.

“This package, including both of my bills, is a major win for Utah and both urban and rural communities across the country. Broadband access is crucial to education and employment opportunities – and as we’ve seen during the pandemic, is critical to delivering healthcare to those in rural America. Too often duplicative regulations and inefficient practices at federal agencies slows broadband deployment down; the proposals in this package will close the digital gap, bringing all Americans access to the internet.

Specifically, my bills will remove barriers that hinder broadband deployment on Federal lands and delay internet access for neighboring communities. The Federal Broadband Deployment in Unserved Areas Act requires that the FCC share their geospatial data on broadband availability with USDA and DOI and requires that the three work together to identify unserved areas with broadband capability. The Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act will speed up permitting for projects on Federal land by allowing States and Tribes to take on the responsibility of environmental review. Both bills will increase the efficiency of Federal broadband permitting and get internet to Americans sooner.”

Background

Federal Broadband Deployment in Unserved Areas Act

  • The bill would require the FCC to share all mapping data collected under Title VIII of the Communications Act (as added by the bipartisan Broadband DATA Act) with the Department of Interior to integrate broadband availability data into DOI’s Joint Overview-Established Locations (JOEL) database showing Federal property that can support communications facilities.
  • The bill would direct the FCC Chairman and Secretary of Interior to establish a working group within 30 days of enactment to facilitate interoperability of the IT systems used by the FCC and the Department of Interior.
  • The bill would also direct the Chairman of the FCC and Secretary of Interior to jointly submit a report to Congress with a preliminary assessment of any potential barriers to interoperability. In addition, the FCC Chairman and Secretary of Interior are also required to submit a report to Congress within 1 year of enactment providing:
    • 1) an assessment of the effectiveness of a user’s ability to locate Federal property that can support communications facilities in unserved areas through the JOEL database; and,
    • 2) an assessment of whether the Departments of Interior and Agriculture prioritized the review of applications for a communications use authorization for proposed deployments in unserved areas

Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act of 2021

  • This bill would authorize Federal departments to delegate Federal environmental compliance for broadband projects to States and Indian Tribes.
  • The bill requires the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior to establish a voluntary program whereby States or Indian Tribes may opt-in to an agreement allowing them to take responsibility of environmental review for the permitting of broadband projects.
  • This bill would also require the designation of a lead agency in the permitting process for projects that cross land management agencies, streamlining the permitting process by creating a single point of contact in the executive branch

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Curtis, Neguse Launch Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, Introduce Legislation to Help Communities Recover From Devastating 2020 Wildfire Season

Curtis, Neguse Launch Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, Introduce Legislation to Help Communities Recover From Devastating 2020 Wildfire Season

February 18,  2021

Washington, DC—Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) and Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) launched the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, a new congressional caucus that seeks to elevate awareness and bipartisan consensus around wildfire management and mitigation, and wildfire preparedness and recovery. Notably, the caucus will require that members join in equal bipartisan numbers, and will serve as a useful tool for facilitating conversations and cultivating solutions for communities facing wildfire. 

The roster of caucus members currently includes: Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Blake Moore (R-UT), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Chris Stewart (R-UT); and additional members will be required to join in equal bipartisan numbers. 

As their first joint action co-chairing the bipartisan wildfire caucus, Congressman Neguse and Congressman Curtis today introduced bipartisan legislation to help communities recover from the devastating 2020 wildfire season. The Wildfire Recovery Act would increase flexibility in the federal cost-share for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) to bring in additional resources for communities as they rebuild from wildfire damage. 

“Many of Utah’s most fire-prone communities face significant roadblocks when attempting to access disaster relief funds following a wildfire because FEMA lacks the flexibility that they need to quickly start recovery projects and guard against future disasters,” said Congressman John Curtis. “I am proud to partner with my friend and Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus co-chair, Congressman Neguse, to introduce the Wildfire Recovery Act which will provide the needed flexibility to FEMA to get funding and recovery assistance on the ground as quickly as possible. I look forward to continuing to advance meaningful bipartisan wildfire-related legislation and am proud to have co-founded the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus to do just that with a group of members who understand the impacts of wildfires back home and are equally committed to finding solutions.”

“In Colorado and across the west, our communities are facing unprecedented devastation from more frequent and more intense wildfires. In the wake of Colorado’s record-breaking wildfire season this year, I’ve joined with Congressman Curtis to launch a bipartisan wildfire caucus in Congress to ensure that we are working collaboratively on solutions to suppress these fires, and equip our communities in their wake,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Today, I’m proud to introduce the Wildfire Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation alongside Congressman Curtis to help communities in the 2nd district and throughout the west recover from this year’s devastating wildfire season. In the coming months, the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus will continue to build on this bipartisan collaboration and ensure in the 117th Congress and beyond, Congress is prioritizing the needs of our local fire crews, our western communities, and fire mitigation and recovery efforts.”

Background 

Representatives Curtis and Neguse have worked together throughout the 116th Congress to address wildfires in the West. In 2019, together they introduced the Study on Improving Lands (SOIL) Act which evaluates the effects of wildfire and land use practices on the ability of soil to sequester carbon. Last April, they introduced the Wildfire and Community Health Response Act of 2020 aimed at supporting the health of firefighters and mitigating the impact of wildfires on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus will: 

  • Advocate for wildfire-related programs, including funding for disaster relief, prevention, and mitigation;
  • Share federal relief programs and resources with communities before, during, and after wildfire season; and
  • Highlight balanced and bipartisan science-based wildfire management and mitigation proposals in Congress.

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Rep. Curtis Joins House Energy and Commerce Committee

Rep. Curtis Joins House Energy and Commerce Committee

January 16,  2021

Washington, DC—Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement being selected to serve on the House Republican Steering Committee:

“I am proud to have been selected by my colleagues to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 117th Congress. No committee in Congress has more impact on Utah, including its oversight of all policy related to healthcare, technology, commerce, environment, energy, and much more. I look forward to representing Utah’s interest on this prestigious committee.”

Statement of Support

House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers: “I’m excited to have Congressman John Curtis join the Energy and Commerce Committee. The vast majority of legislation we consider in the House runs through this committee. To deliver results to the people of Utah, I know Congressman Curtis is ready to hit the ground running on technology, energy, and healthcare policy solutions that will improve people’s lives.”

Background

The E&C Committee has wide jurisdiction over critical issues including healthcare, telecommunications, technology, consumer safety, environment, food and drug safety, energy, and interstate and foreign commerce. Established in 1795, the committee is the oldest continuous standing committee in the House of Representatives. Learn more here.

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Comprehensive Hong Kong Bill Passes House Unanimously

Comprehensive Hong Kong Bill Passes House Unanimously

December 10,  2020

Washington, DC — Representatives John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the China Task Force, released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted unanimously in support of the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, a comprehensive bill that includes language from Congressman’s Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act.

“Since the passage of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, we have seen arbitrary detentions of activists and crackdowns on their free press. This bill addresses this humanitarian crisis and shows Hong Kongers that the United States has their backs in their struggle for basic freedoms and liberty,” said Curtis. “I commend my colleague, Rep. Malinowski, for working to advance legislation to help those in need, which includes my language to give Hong Kongers expedited refugee status to come to the United States.”

Background:

This bill would facilitate the entry of Hong Kongers to the U.S. in the wake of the Chinese Communist Party takeover of Hong Kong.

The language taken from the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act includes:

  • Designation of select Hong Kongers as refugees
  • The waiving of refugee caps for Hong Kongers to ensure they don’t take slots from other groups refugees
  • Special emphasis on protecting frontline activists in Hong Kong including those arrested for participation in protests
  • Calling for the U.S. to work with like-minded allies to take in Hong Kongers as refugees 

This legislative package included multiple Hong Kong centric bills and was introduced by Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October. Text is available [HERE].

Congressman Curtis introduced the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act in June (read more here) and wrote an op-ed advocating for the bipartisan legislation in The Hill (click here to read).

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Bipartisan Curtis Bill Supporting Veterans’ Families Signed into Law

Bipartisan Curtis Bill Supporting Veterans’ Families Signed into Law

December 9,  2020

Washington, DC — Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement after his bill, the Peer Support for Veterans Families Act, was signed into law by President Donald Trump over the weekend on Saturday, December 5th.

The bipartisan bill, introduced last August by Rep. Curtis and Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), was included in the larger Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020.

The Peer Support for Veterans Families Act creates a pilot program providing education and peer support for the families and caregivers of veterans who have received a mental health diagnosis. Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) was also an original co-sponsor of the bill.

“I am thankful my colleagues recognize that this bipartisan legislation provides needed resources to those supporting our veterans in mental crisis,” said Curtis. “Actions speak louder than words, and it’s past due for our nation to honor the courageous sacrifices our brave men and women in the military have made to protect our freedoms. Now that it’s signed into law, our bill gives veterans and their families hope for a better future after completing their service to our country.” 

“We can no longer ignore the importance of taking care of those who care for our veterans, and with this bill we no longer will,” said Finkenauer. “I am so proud to see this life-changing bill become law, and I look forward to seeing the Department of Veterans Affairs quickly launch the pilot programs it prescribes.”

Support

The Peer Support for Veterans Families Act is endorsed by: the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and The American Legion.

Background

The Peer Support for Veterans Families Act directs the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to set up a pilot program in 10 medical facilities to offer education and peer support programs to veterans’ caregivers and families. With the permission of the veteran, caregivers will receive training in understanding mental illness, coping with stress, and de-escalating crisis situations. The new initiative will allow caregivers to learn from and support each other as well as provide them the opportunity to lead trainings and peer support meetings.

The bill directs the VA to choose sites that lack other resources nearby and to contract with training organizations with expertise in evidence-based approaches and military/veteran cultural competence, and that can offer services online whenever possible.

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Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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Curtis Champions Bipartisan Resolution on Clean Energy

Curtis Champions Bipartisan Resolution on Clean Energy

September 25,  2020

Washington, DC Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Natural Resources Committee, spoke on the House floor to advocate for “National Clean Energy Week.” National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) is an annual awareness campaign to recognize the value of clean energy, which includes good-paying jobs, economic growth, energy independence, consumer choice, lower energy prices, and a cleaner environment, with a goal of advancing bipartisan support of our nation’s clean energy sector. Earlier this week, the Congressman led 71 other bipartisan members of the House of Representatives in a resolution to declare this week as “National Clean Energy Week.”

The full speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:

“I rise today in support of Clean Energy Week, an opportunity to celebrate bipartisan support for the wide variety of clean energy sources strengthening America’s national security while also preserving our environment for future generations.

The environment is, and should be, a bipartisan issue.

That is why this week I am proud to lead, with my friend Congressman Lowenthal of California, a bipartisan resolution in support of congressionally supporting the designation of Clean Energy Week.

In fact, my legislation was introduced with 71 original cosponsors, divided nearly evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

This goes to show that we can and must work across the aisle to be better caretakers of our planet, and I plan to continue the pursuit of these positive bipartisan policies while in Congress.

I yield the balance of my time.”

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
Phone: (385) 325-0655   Email: info@johncurtis.org   
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 296   Provo, UT  84603-0296

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