Today, the Biden-Harris Administration will host a Rural Communities in Action event at the White House to highlight how the Administration is investing in rural communities. White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, White House Office of Public Engagement Director Stephen Benjamin, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will provide remarks that highlight how the President’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring rural Americans do not have to leave their hometowns to find opportunity. The Rural Communities in Action event can be viewed here.

As part of this event, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a new Rural Innovators Initiative to highlight stories of extraordinary rural leaders who are taking action and ensuring their communities thrive for generations to come. The Biden-Harris Administration invites nominations from the public for Rural Innovators who are making a positive impact in their rural communities. The nomination form will close on Friday, June 14 at midnight EDT, and selected individuals will be recognized later this year.

The Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing over $671 million in new investments to strengthen rural infrastructure across the country. These investments will improve access to reliable electricity and clean drinking water for more than one million people and create good-paying jobs in rural communities.

Today’s Rural Communities in Action event builds on the Investing in Rural America Regional Event Series. Throughout this year, Senior Administration Officials are traveling to rural communities across the country to highlight how the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in rural America to create opportunity for farmers, families, and communities. These investments include:

Investing in Rural American Infrastructure

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing billions of dollars to revitalize and rebuild rural communities across the country – a generational investment in rural America. This funding also represents the single largest investment in Tribal infrastructure ever.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in infrastructure deployment. That includes a $2 billion program at the Department of Commerce to invest in high-speed internet on Tribal lands. USDA has invested $3.9 billion in 333 projects that will expand access to high-speed broadband and bring new economic opportunities and a better quality of life for more than 622,000 people (247,000 households) through its ReConnect Program.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also provides a historic $8.25 billion investment to reduce wildfire risks for communities, better detect wildfires, and institute workforce reforms and landmark pay increases for federal wildland firefighters. Through the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program, USDA has awarded $439 million to 257 project proposals across 36 states and 16 tribes, which will assist with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. USDA is also investing $150 million to help underserved and small acreage forest landowners connect to emerging voluntary climate markets, which can provide economic opportunities for landowners and incentivize improved forest health and management.

Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests billions of dollars to make sure rural families can get where they need to go, including through a $4.1 billion investment in Rural Area Formula Grants at the Department of Transportation. This program will support 1,300 rural transit systems by enabling them to purchase transit vehicles and infrastructure, plan transit more effectively, and fund operations. The Department of Transportation is also providing $2 billion over 5 years in dedicated funding to projects in rural areas that improve and expand the surface transportation infrastructure to increase connectivity, improve the safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generate regional economic growth and improve quality of life.

Delivering Clean, Reliable Water to Rural America

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s transformative over $50 billion investment in our water and wastewater infrastructure is fundamentally changing the quality of life for millions of people in rural America by replacing lead pipes, providing critical access to sanitation, ensuring access to affordable clean drinking water, and tackling drought. That includes a $3.5 billion investment through the Indian Health Service which has already launched over 700 projects to build out a safe supply of drinking water, reliable sewage systems, and waste disposal facilities across Indian Country.

EPA and USDA, in collaboration with states and Tribal Nations, are working together on the Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap initiative. This partnership leverages technical assistance resources to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding opportunities to address their rural wastewater needs. The first phase supported 11 communities and has since expanded to include an additional 150 communities nationwide.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is also cleaning up pollution in rural areas by investing $4.7 billion to plug, remediate, and restore dangerous orphaned oil and gas wells across the country; nearly $11.3 billion to create good-paying jobs, including union jobs, and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands; and $3.5 billion that has been allocated to 95 previously unfunded Superfund site projects, including the longstanding backlog of projects, to clean up contaminated sites and advance environmental justice.

In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration is leading a whole-of-government effort to make Western communities more resilient to climate change and the ongoing megadrought by harnessing the full resources of the President’s historic Investing in America agenda. The Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law together include $15.4 billion to enhance the West’s resilience to drought through water-saving projects and other conservation efforts.

Lowering Energy Costs and Strengthening the Grid

Supported by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program is the largest investment in rural America’s electric system since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. It invests $9.7 billion to help member-owned rural electric cooperatives provide their communities with clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program will fund new clean energy and energy storage projects to make it more affordable for rural Americans to use clean, reliable energy to heat and cool their homes, run their businesses, and power their cars, schools, and hospitals. In March 2024, USDA announced the first 5 projects totaling $139 million. The Rural Energy for America (REAP) program – which received a $2 billion boost through the Inflation Reduction Act – is also helping farms and small businesses invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operations. USDA has provided over $500 million in grants to thousands of projects through this Inflation Reduction Act funding so far.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests billions of dollars to improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy in rural America. Earlier this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced $366 million for 17 projects across 20 states and 30 Tribal Nations and communities to accelerate clean energy deployment in rural and remote areas across the country through the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) Program. DOE announced up to $475 million in March 2024 for 5 projects in Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to accelerate clean energy deployment on current and former mine land. The selected projects cover a range of clean energy technologies, from solar, microgrids, and pumped storage hydropower to geothermal and battery energy storage systems.

Last year, DOE announced nearly $3.5 billion through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program to strengthen grid reliability and resilience across 44 states, including several major rural grid resilience projects. This funding is spurring private investment, bringing public-private investment to $8 billion to deliver affordable, clean electricity to all Americans and ensure that communities across the nation have a reliable grid that is prepared for extreme weather worsened by the climate crisis.

In March 2024, the first round of funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Electrification Program provided $72 million in financial and technical assistance to 21 Tribes to connect homes to transmission and distribution that is powered by clean energy, provide electricity to unelectrified Tribal homes through zero-emissions energy systems, transition electrified Tribal homes to zero-emissions energy systems, and support associated home repairs and retrofitting. The program will also support clean energy workforce development opportunities in Indian Country.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) is a $27 billion investment through the Inflation Reduction Act to combat the climate crisis by mobilizing financing and private capital for clean energy and climate solutions across sectors in communities across the country, including rural communities. One of the awardees for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, one of the three GGF programs, is Appalachian Community Capital, which is launching the Green Bank for Rural America to deliver clean capital and capacity building assistance to hundreds of community lenders working in coal, energy, underserved rural, and Tribal communities across the country.

And, by expanding the availability of homegrown biofuels, the Biden-Harris Administration is strengthening our energy independence while bringing good-paying jobs and other economic benefits to rural communities. For example, up to $500 million from the Inflation Reduction Act is being made available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to increase the availability of domestic biofuels and give Americans additional, cleaner fuel options at the pump. Through this program, USDA has provided $135 million in grants so far.

Improving Access to Health Care and Lowering Health Care Costs for Rural Communities

The Biden-Harris Administration is lowering health care costs for rural Americans and supporting access to high quality care in rural America.  Rural seniors are seeing lower drug costs thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. About 281,000 rural Part D Medicare enrollees would have benefitted from the $35 insulin cap if it had been in effect in 2020, and about 481,000 rural enrollees would have benefitted from $0 recommended adult vaccines if it had been in effect in 2021. About 289,000 rural enrollees are projected to save $1,000 or more when the $2,000 out-of-pocket cap goes into effect in 2025. Nearly 3 million rural Americans signed up for 2024 coverage at the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace. Eighty percent of consumers could find health plans for $10 or less a month, with many qualifying for plans with $0 premiums. In addition, four states have expanded Medicaid since President Biden took office, providing coverage to over one million Americans while reducing the risk of rural hospital closure by half. 

The Biden-Harris Administration has launched the new Rural Emergency Hospital designation to provide a new option to some struggling hospitals, and it is investing in training the next generation of health care providers to serve rural communities. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also extended several grant opportunities to support rural communities, including $28 million to provide direct health services and expand infrastructure and $16 million to provide technical assistance to rural hospitals facing financial distress. Recognizing the critical role nurses play in providing primary care, mental health and maternal health care services, particularly in rural areas, HHS announced more than $100 million in awards to address the increasing demand for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nurse faculty. Through the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program, HHS has invested over $28 million in awards across 25 states to create new rural residency programs to train more physicians in rural communities, which increases the likelihood of practicing in a rural community.

HHS’ Rural Communities Opioid Response Program is a multi-year initiative that has invested $298 million in 386 awards to reduce the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder, in rural communities at the highest risk for SUD. Through the Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Program, HHS has invested $20.5 million since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration to support the recruitment and training of EMS personnel in rural areas with a focus on addressing SUD and co-occurring disorders (COD) substance use and mental disorders. 

Supporting Veterans in Rural Communities

The Biden-Harris Administration is delivering more benefits to more veterans than ever before. With enactment of the PACT Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been able to expand the types of conditions that are considered service connected making it easier for toxic exposed veterans to get the disability benefits they deserve. PACT Act also expanded who is eligible to enroll in VA health care and required new toxic exposure screenings for all veterans enrolled. These expansions are helping to meet the needs of the over 4.4 million veterans who live in rural areas. VA also expanded its Connected Care program, enabling more telehealth delivery for rural veterans than ever before.

Creating New and Better Agricultural Markets to Increase Competition

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, USDA invested $583 million in expanding meat and poultry processing capacity, $275 million to strengthen the food supply chain and create opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural communities through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program, and $48.1 million to support Indigenous Animals processing grants. These investments are giving farmers more market options and fairer prices by spurring competition. These investments are also providing consumers with more choices and affordable prices at the grocery store.

Through the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program, USDA has made $900 million available to boost innovative domestic fertilizer production, help lower costs for farmers, and create jobs in rural communities. USDA has awarded more than $168 million to support 40 projects.

USDA has also finalized rules to protect farmers and ranchers from discrimination, retaliation, and deception; make poultry markets more transparent; and ensure that meat, poultry, and eggs labeled “Product of USA” match consumers’ expectations. USDA has also been working to support farmers in navigating the seed patent process and give farmers a greater voice.

Investing in Climate-Smart Agriculture

Through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative, USDA is investing more than $3.1 billion for 141 projects that seek to build and expand market opportunities for American commodities produced using climate-smart practices. The Inflation Reduction Act provided a record $19.5 billion for USDA conservation programs to support hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply practices such as cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting, and more to millions of acres of land. This has direct climate mitigation benefits and advances a host of other environmental co-benefits, in addition to offering farmers, ranchers and foresters new revenue streams. The climate-smart agriculture investments that USDA has made and continues to make are estimated to support over 180,000 farms and over 225 million acres in the next 5 years.

Strengthening Local and Regional Food Systems

The Biden-Harris Administration is investing in local and regional food systems, which adds value for both agricultural producers and consumers, and spurs economic activity locally — helping communities that have been left behind by the current agricultural models and supporting good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain. USDA created twelve Regional Food Business Centers across the country that are providing coordination, technical assistance and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers and food businesses reach local customers and navigate federal state and local resources. USDA is also investing $300 million through the Organic Transition Initiative to support farmers in transitioning to organic and build and strengthen organic markets so more farmers can participate.

To support Tribal Nations’ food and agriculture supply chain resiliency, USDA invested $48.1 million in meat and poultry processing infrastructure for indigenous animals such as bison, reindeer or salmon. In October 2023, USDA also launched a new, interagency pilot to purchase bison meat from Tribal and local bison operations for Tribal communities through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

Improving Nutrition and Food Access for Rural Communities

President Biden set a bold goal of ending hunger and reducing diet-related diseases in the U.S. by 2030—all while reducing disparities. Through the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, USDA has awarded nearly $30 million in grants to small and rural communities to improve the nutritional quality of school meals and help modernize their operations. Each small and/or rural school district will receive up to $150,000 to support them in improving the nutritional quality of their meals and modernizing their operations through innovative staff training programs, kitchen updates and renovations, redesigning food preparation and service spaces, or other school-district led efforts to support school meals and school nutrition professionals.

This year, USDA’s summer nutrition programs can reach more kids than ever before. In addition to traditional in-person summer meal sites, summer meal operators in rural communities will have the option to provide children who live in rural areas with meals via grab-and-go or delivery through the Non-Congregate Summer Meal Service. And, through the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT), children in low-income families in participating states, territories, and Tribes will receive $120 per eligible child for the summer in the form of pre-loaded cards that families can use to purchase groceries.

USDA has also expanded online purchasing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to be available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This expansion represents a major milestone in the history of SNAP and continues to provide greater convenience and access to healthy food options for tens of millions of Americans, including in remote and rural areas.

Cutting Housing Costs, Boosting Supply, and Expanding Access to Affordable Housing in Rural America

The Biden-Harris Housing Supply Action Plan includes legislative and administrative actions that will help close America’s housing supply shortfall. When aligned with other policies to reduce housing costs and ensure affordability, such as rental assistance and down payment assistance, closing the gap will mean more affordable rents and more attainable homeownership for Americans in every community, including rural communities.

In April 2024, USDA announced $48 million available to alleviate the shortage of safe and affordable farm labor housing through new construction, aiding local farms and businesses in remaining competitive while enhancing the lives of working families. Within the $25 billion guaranteed lending level for qualified low to moderate rural residents available in 2024, USDA is able to fully promote its Construction to Permanent option within this program that allows approved lenders and homebuilders participating in the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program to close both construction and permanent financing at the same time and receive a loan note guarantee before construction begins.

In 2023, HUD invested $225 million in competitive grant funding for the preservation and revitalization of manufactured housing and eligible manufactured housing communities. The Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE) supports communities in their efforts to maintain, protect, and stabilize manufactured housing and manufactured housing communities.  More than 22 million Americans currently live-in manufactured housing, which account for approximately fifteen percent of occupied housing stock in rural areas.

Strengthening Rural Workforce Development

In April 2024, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the availability of $44.2 million for the fifth round of Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities (WORC) grants. The WORC Initiative, which is a partnership between DOL, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, and the Northern Border Regional Commission, provides grant funds to enable rural communities to develop local and regional workforce development solutions aligned with existing economic development strategies and community partnerships to promote new, sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality. New for this round, the funding opportunity specifically encourages applicants who are part of the Rural Partners Network.

Supporting Access to Higher Education and Career Pathways

In December 2023, the Department of Education announced $44.5 million in grants to 22 institutions of higher education to improve rates of postsecondary education enrollment, persistence, and completion among students in rural communities. The Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development Grant Program promotes high-quality career pathways aligned to high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand industry sectors and occupations in the region. This builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to students in rural America to have access to career pathways and higher education opportunities that lead to good-paying jobs right in their own communities.

Lowering Child Care Costs and Supporting Child Care Providers in Rural America

President Biden secured the largest one-time investment this country has ever made in child care through his American Rescue Plan. Those funds helped 225,000 child care providers stay open so that the parents of more than 10 million children could go to work with peace of mind. A third of providers reported they would have closed permanently without these relief funds. More than 8-in-10 licensed child care centers nationwide received ARP assistance and it benefited 30,000 rural child care programs – in most states, 97% of rural counties or more received aid.

President Biden is also working to build the supply of child care in underserved areas, such as rural areas. Recently, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule to improve the Child Care & Development Block Grant program, which helps the families of more than 1.3 million children afford child care. Through its rule and for the first time, HHS will require that all states provide resources to build the supply of care in underserved geographic areas.

Partnering with Rural Communities to Create Jobs and Support Rural-led Economic Development

Launched in April 2022, the Rural Partners Network (RPN) is an all-of-government program that partners with rural people to access resources and funding to create local jobs, build infrastructure, and support long-term economic stability on their own terms. RPN staff on the ground are now supporting 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico. Since its inception, the federal government has invested nearly $3 billion in RPN communities to support critical infrastructure, economic development, housing, and other priorities.

In February 2021, President Biden established the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (Energy Communities IWG) to identify and deliver resources to the coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities that have powered our country for generations. Since then, member agencies have helped drive nearly $18 billion in federal investment to these communities. The Energy Communities IWG has launched Rapid Response Teams across the country to establish a network of assistance that is focused and sustainable in a community or region.

In addition, the Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities Program is providing planning, technical assistance, and capacity building support to underserved and under-resourced communities, including rural communities.

With funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Department of Commerce has launched several place-based programs to connect people to good paying jobs and help once left-behind communities leverage regional assets, including rural communities. The Build Back Better Regional Challenge awarded 21 regional coalitions a total of $1 billion to transform their regional economies through growing a local industry sector. These awardees span 236 rural counties such as community-led coalitions based in the coalfields of Southern West VirginiaThe Good Jobs Challengeawarded $500 million to 32 regional workforce training systems across the country. At least 19 of these 32 awardees serve rural areas, including a project to address the housing crisis on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Department of Commerce also awarded $100 million from the Indigenous Communities Program, all of which primarily serve rural communities, and $500 million from the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, two-thirds of which primarily serve rural communities, to support economic development needs such as enabling infrastructure and workforce development.  

Additionally, authorized by President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act, the Department of Commerce’s Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs program has designated 31 communities across the country as “Tech Hubs” that will bring together private industry, state and local government, higher education, labor unions, nonprofit institutions, and other critical stakeholders to develop and grow innovative industries that stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and strengthen national security. Nearly three-quarters of Tech Hubs designees encompass small and rural areas.

Also authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, the Department of Commerce’s $200 million Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program (“Recompete”) aims to address persistent economic distress in communities across the country through a series of highly targeted, transformational investments. Seven of the 22 program finalists focus exclusively on rural communities, and their proposed investments include workforce skill training, addressing childcare deserts in rural America, supporting small businesses, and building local capacity.


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