Congresswoman Adams extols the virtues of the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act

Washington, D.C. – Last night, Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) delivered a floor speech about the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act during the Congressional Black Caucus special order hour on infrastructure. As of press time, the bipartisan legislation has over 70 cosponsors in the 117th Congress.

A video of Rep. Adams’ remarks is available here.

Remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

I rise tonight to talk about an essential infrastructure investment – an investment in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Earlier this year, the bipartisan leadership of the HBCU Caucus – Representative French Hill of Arkansas, Senators Chris Coons of Delaware, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as our vice chairs Representatives Terri Sewell and Mike Turner – came together to introduce the bipartisan IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act.

We introduced this legislation to help light a fire for our schools. The IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act represents a historic investment in both the physical and digital infrastructure of our historically black colleges.

Our nation’s HBCUs deserve a level of investment and engagement reflective of their multi-billion impact on our nation’s economy and their collective impact on the minds of millions of our nation’s future leaders.

We have bipartisan agreement on that. Don’t just take it from me; in the words of Senator Tim Scott, “HBCUs have educated and produced top-notch graduates in every field—all while operating on minimal budgets. I can only imagine what more they will accomplish with proper funding.”

Our nation’s low-income, first generation college students deserve that opportunity and to ensure that happens, the schools they attend must be made whole.

Finally, as we have a national debate about infrastructure both in the Congress and across the country, I want to make one thing clear: the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act is not only an infrastructure bill; it’s also a jobs bill. 

This bill creates jobs and enables HBCUs to continue to be a critical source of diversity in the workforce. This bill has the potential to create over half a million jobs while investing in critical HBCU infrastructure.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are essential infrastructure for the next generation of students, workers, innovators, athletes, creators, thinkers, and leaders. That’s why we need to pass the most transformative legislation for Historically Black Colleges and Universities in history.

We must rectify over 150 years of neglect, broken promises, and institutional racism. Any infrastructure package that leaves this House must include a historic investment in our HBCUs. I will not rest until we remove all of the barriers to their success, and the success of our HBCU students.

Colleagues, please join us and our bipartisan list of over 70 cosponsors in the House and Senate in supporting the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act. Thank you, and I yield back.

Congresswoman Alma Adams represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte) and serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additionally, she serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In 2015, she founded the first bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus in Congress.

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