Millions of Latinos and veterans will be left without internet due to blockade by Republicans in Congress – La Opinion

Millions of Latinos and veterans will be left without internet due to blockade by Republicans in Congress – La Opinion

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From May, 23 million families will be left without help for paying their internt under the Internet Discount Program (ACP), warned Tom Pérez, assistant to the President and director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

He added around 25% of these families are Latino, while up to 50% are veterans and other military members who receive between $30 and $75 dollars per month to pay for the internet.

“It is a very serious situation now,” Pérez said in an interview. “This affordable connectivity program is going to end”.

The new relief funds were requested last October by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who sent a $6 billion proposal, but Republicans have stalled the plan in Congress.

Pérez added that the Biden Administration has received letters from the beneficiaries, who ask for an extension of the aid distributed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), because if they do not receive it, they will have to stop paying for food, medicine or other services, since that an internet connection is essential for many families who work from home.

“There are so many Latinos who have a small business at home and this program is so important for everyone,” he said.

This program began in 2021, with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, but funds were limited, which is why additional resources were requested.

What’s stopping him in Congress?

Advisor Pérez said that the president of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson (Louisiana), has not allowed the project to advancealthough in the Senate all Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer (New York), support the plan.

It stands out that in Federal District 4, which Johnson represents, there are more than 100,000 families benefiting from the aid, but the project is not moving forward.

According to a report by Fast Company, at least 20 Republican representatives, such as Brandon Williams (New York), asked Johnson to allow Internet aid to advance, but they have not been successful.

“I spoke another day the other day with the Secretary of Veterans [Denis McDonough]because there are so many military families that use this program,” Pérez insisted. “I have received many letters from families who are very afraid that this program is going to end.”

What happens in May?

Advisor Pérez indicated that the Biden Administration has tried to negotiate with the companies that offer internet service, to offer options to the 23 million families, but recognized that these companies “have no legal obligation.”

“All families received a letter two months ago […] explaining the situation and explaining that we need more funds to continue,” Pérez said. “The program is going to end in May. May starts tomorrow.”

This newspaper has requested an official position from the office of the Speaker of the House, Republican Johnson, but there has been no response.

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