February 10, 2021

Senators Markey, Van Hollen, Bennet, and Hassan and Congresswoman Meng Applaud Inclusion of More Than $7 Billion in E-Rate Distance Learning Funding in Latest House Coronavirus Proposal

Washington (February 10, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06) today applauded inclusion of their legislation the Emergency Educational Connections Act and more than $7 billion in funding for the E-rate program in the House coronavirus relief reconciliation proposal. The lawmakers’ legislation funds elementary and secondary schools and libraries, including tribal schools and libraries, to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-enabled devices, including internet service through such equipment, to students, staff, and patrons.

 

“We are excited to see our legislation that funds K-12 distance learning included in the latest coronavirus relief package unveiled by the House of Representatives,” said the lawmakers. “The reconciliation package reflects what we all know: that we cannot afford to wait another day to connect online our nation’s most vulnerable children to their teachers and classmates and to ensure the ‘homework gap’ does not continue to grow into a damaging learning and opportunity gap as the pandemic continues. We call on our colleagues in both the Senate and House to include this funding in the final package and quickly send it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.” 

 

Since the E-Rate began nearly two decades ago, more than $54 billion has been invested nationwide to provide internet access for schools and libraries. Senator Markey is the author of the original E-Rate program, which was created as a part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The program is designed to connect schools and libraries to the Internet.

 

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