Budzinski Calls on House GOP to Preserve the Affordable Connectivity Program 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) and Angie Craig (MN-02) held a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol as they led 95 New Democrat Coalition colleagues in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson calling for immediate bipartisan action to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The American Rescue Plan created the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides discounted or free broadband for low-income households. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the program into the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a discount of up to $30 a month for qualifying low-income households. The ACP currently empowers 23 million households across the country to access affordable broadband. Without additional funding from Congress, the ACP will run out of funding, and millions of households could lose crucial internet access. 

“When voters sent me to Washington, they tasked me with fighting to bring down the everyday costs that are holding too many working families back. That’s what the Affordable Connectivity Program is all about,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “The ACP ensures that lower-income households can afford access to high-speed internet for work, school, health care and more. In 2024, access to the internet isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Since the ACP was launched, more than 17 million households across the country have received support. In the district I serve, more than 75,000 households have subscribed to the Affordable Connectivity Program. And it’s saving families in my district nearly $40 million a year. I held a roundtable in East St. Louis where nearly every household benefits from the ACP. I heard about what this program has meant for students, for families, for workers, for patients. But this is all at risk if the ACP expires at the end of this month. My office has heard from more than 9,000 constituents who would be hurt by a disruption to this program. If Congress allows the ACP to lapse, internet services for millions of Americans could be disrupted. I’m proud to be here today to urge GOP leadership to maintain this critical program for families in my district and across the country.” 

The letter Budzinski and Craig sent to Speaker Johnson reads in part:

“As New Dems, we are committed to fighting to lower everyday costs for Americans; letting the ACP lapse will lead to a direct increase in broadband costs for consumers. We reaffirm our call to House Republicans to deliver for the American people and provide the ACP with the funding it needs without delay.”

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Speaker Johnson,

In the nearly three years since the establishment of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, millions of American households have received aid from the ACP to access affordable broadband and participate in the 21st century economy. Without the monthly benefit the ACP provides, many Americans will lose access to distance learning, telemedicine, the online marketplace, and the numerous benefits that high-speed internet provides in everyday life.

We are disappointed that despite the incredible impact on the 23 million households that have enrolled across the country, House Republican Leadership has blocked any consideration of the funding it needs to keep running, pushing us towards the program’s extinction. At a time of rising costs, Republican Leadership refuses to support this critical program that saves communities money. If Congress does not provide additional funding, April is the last month the full ACP benefit will be provided, and, in May, households will see changes in their bill. More than three-quarters of ACP-enrolled households could either experience a disruption or lose access to the internet entirely. We cannot let this happen.

As New Dems, we are committed to fighting to lower everyday costs for Americans; letting the ACP lapse will lead to a direct increase in broadband costs for consumers. We reaffirm our call to House Republicans to deliver for the American people and provide the ACP with the funding it needs without delay. In January 2024, the bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act was introduced, and, if adopted, would provide an additional $7 billion for the ACP.  This Act has broad support, including over 224 co-sponsors. We stand ready and willing to partner with you and the Republican Conference to keep Americans connected to the internet.

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