Biden touts program to provide internet subsidy for low income families

 June 5, 2024

President Joe Biden continues to face awful approval numbers, with polls showing that Americans dislike his handling of inflation, the border, and foreign policy.

In an apparent effort to shift focus, the president has spent much of this year calling on Congress to replace funding for a program which provides internet access to low income households. 

Biden touts Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

According to the Associated Press, Biden visited North Carolina in January where he touted the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

The initiative provided $30 per month to qualifying families, a figure which rose to $75 per month for families living on tribal lands.

"Our goal is to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet by the year 2030, everyone in America, just like Franklin Roosevelt did a generation ago with electricity," the Associated Press quoted Biden as saying at an event in Raleigh.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper spoke up as well, stating, "I think this should be a high priority for Congress. To many families, $30 a month is a big deal."

Private companies step in after APC funding ends

Shirleen Alexander is a senior citizen who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and she told the news service that loss of the APC would negatively impact her.

"If they took (ACP) away, it would be like taking food out of my mouth. I need the service, and some of my senior citizen friends need it, as well," she lamented.

Established in late 2021, the program ran out of money in April. However, the website Telecompetitor reported that 14 internet service providers have created alternate programs for struggling customers.

That fact was highlighted in a White House press release which read, "President Biden remains committed to doing everything possible to ensure families continue to access affordable high-speed internet."

"Today, the White House highlights voluntary commitments to customers from over a dozen internet service providers to offer plans at $30 or less to low-income households through 2024, so that families across America can continue accessing low-cost internet," it stressed.

Op-ed warns GOP could pay a political price

Calls for Congress to fund the ACP have also been echoed by some on the right, including Hudson Institute visiting fellow Michael O'Rielly.

O'Rielly, who previously served as an adviser to then-Senate Republican whip John Cornyn, wrote an opinion piece for The Hill last year in which he argued that killing the ACP before voters go to the polls could be politically disastrous.

"If Congress fails to act, Members will see 15-plus million American households lose out," O'Rielly wrote. "For the politically minded that would likely not be well received heading into the 2024 election cycle."

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