Iowa House rejects state rural broadband bill

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal to expand broadband services in rural areas suffered a major setback as the state's House of Representatives voted against the bill, reports The Des Moines Register.

On Friday, the bill drew 44 votes in favor and 51 against. Out of the two groups, 42 Republicans and two Democrats voted yes, while 42 Democrats and nine Republicans formed a 51-vote majority against it.

Rep. Guy Vander Linden of Oskaloosa, a Republican who cast a "no" vote on Friday, said: "It sounds like a blank check I'm not willing to sign."

Branstad, who cited broadband expansion as a key initiative during his Condition of the State, said that he could not understand why so many Democrats were against the proposal.

"Rather than coming together to pass common sense legislation to increase broadband access in rural Iowa, Iowa House Democrats have turned their backs on rural Iowans and those who are under served," Branstad said. "Today, the Iowa House Democrats played the worst of political cards; the Washington, D.C., hand of ignoring what is in the best interest of the taxpayers for political purposes."

Democratic leader Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, told The Des Moines Register that a number of his party members did not vote to approve the bill because they did not think it was strong enough to drive meaningful broadband expansion.

"We did not feel that this was a good enough bill," he said, adding: "Our responsibility is to vote for what we think is best for the people of our districts, and that's what we did today."

For more:
- The Des Moines Register has this article

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