Cárdenas, Butterfield, Peters, Rice Lead Majority of House Democratic Caucus Urging President Biden to Permanently Close the Digital Divide
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-04) led a majority of the House Democratic Caucus in sending a letter urging President Biden permanently close the digital divide for all Americans. 120 members of the House Democratic Caucus signed the letter thanking President Biden for pursuing a bipartisan infrastructure package and expressing their support for targeting federal funds to the hardest to reach areas and providing a permanent, federally funded broadband benefit program for financially vulnerable families.
“Access to the tools the internet has to offer must be available to everyone,” said Representative Cárdenas. “The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has given Americans an opportunity to get connected to internet service – many for the first time. It’s past time we implement permanent solutions that ensure low-income families and communities of color have continued access to the health, educational and economic benefits of the online world.”
“Millions of Americans lack access to the internet. Some don’t have access due to lack of broadband infrastructure in their communities, while others simply cannot afford it,” said Representative Butterfield. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of broadband connectivity for all Americans. In order to provide equal opportunity for all Americans, a permanent broadband benefit is a crucial step to finally close the digital divide.”
“Students and workers need high-speed, reliable internet access – and it needs to be affordable,” said Representative Peters. “We should take the lessons we learned from the pandemic and apply them to our post-pandemic efforts to lower costs for broadband access. For our country to realize our 21st-century potential, we must ensure low-income communities can afford high-quality connectivity.”
“The pandemic has made it clear that good Internet access is not a luxury, but a necessity,” said Representative Rice. “That is why the government should consider investing in a permanent broadband benefit program to ensure more American families get connected and fully participate in the modern economy.”
Without access to broadband service, millions of Americans are unable to participate in remote learning, working, telehealth and other essential activities. Smart investments in broadband infrastructure and a federally funded permanent broadband program to help financially vulnerable families purchase broadband service will close the digital divide.
For a copy of the letter that was sent, click here.