House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement after the House passed the Digital Global Access Policy Act, or Digital GAP Act (H.R. 5537). In June, McMorris Rodgers joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) in introducing the bill, which promotes internet access globally and encourages the use of technology to modernize the U.S. Government.
“We’ve seen the profound influence internet access has on nations around the world, both developed and developing,” said McMorris Rodgers. “I am proud to champion this commonsense approach that will promote internet access in developing countries. Modernizing our international aid prerogatives to reflect the 21st century world we all live in is crucial as we look to get more of the developing world online. I am grateful for Chairman Royce’s leadership on this issue, and for the support of our colleagues across the aisle.”
Reports estimate 4.2 billion, roughly 60 percent of the world’s population, remain offline and the growth rate of internet access is slowing. An estimated 75 percent of the offline population lives in just 20 countries and those who are offline are largely rural, female, elderly, illiterate, and low-income.