CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 6394, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 6394 was introduced by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) on November 29, 2016, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
H.R. 6394 requires the Federal Communications Commission to submit to Congress a report on promoting broadband Internet access service for veterans.
Americans living below the federal poverty level or in rural areas are less likely to have broadband access. According to the Pew Research center, less than half of Americans living below the federal poverty level have broadband internet access at home. And, analysis by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce further funds that internet adoption in rural areas in lower than in urban areas.
There are currently more than 1.4 million veterans living below the federal poverty level, and 5.3 million veterans residing in rural communities.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “Broadband access is critical for the more than 20 million veterans living across the nation, […]. Broadband access enables veterans to more easily apply for jobs and obtain necessary vocational training, connect with family and friends, get important information about their benefits and military records, and access health care services. Veterans, who fight tirelessly to protect our country, face many challenges when they return home. Not having internet access makes what is already an incredibly difficult transition process even harder.”
An official Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is not currently available. However, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 6394 would have no effect on direct spending or revenues since the FCC’s budget is funded through offsetting receipts.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.