On September 8, 2023, the Rural Development Modernization Act (H.R. 5359) was introduced in the 118th Congress by Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno). The bill would seek to update the population threshold for rural communities under programs carried out by the Department of Agriculture. This would open up additional funding and programmatic opportunities for jurisdictions that are larger than the existing thresholds but still have high levels of need within their populations. This recognizes the impacts of poverty and a lack of housing and services within communities that, while they are still rural, may have slightly larger populations. The programs currently included in the bill are related to broadband, rural water projects, housing, and energy.  

The bill has been referred to the Committees on Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Financial Services. For more information, contact Eric Will, Policy and Local Assistance Manager, at ewill@rcrcnet.org.