Will Iowa’s House Representatives Fail to Save a Cost-Saving Program Relied Upon by 124,000 Iowans?

124,000  Iowans rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program to access vital services. Will Iowa Republicans once again put politics over people?

The monthly internet subsidy relied upon by more than 124,000 Iowans is set to expire at the end of this month unless Congress passes more funding. As a result, the thousands of Iowans who are left without internet access will be at risk of losing access to vital services like health care and work opportunities.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was created as a part of President Biden’s 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, provides $30/mo toward the cost of internet for low-income Iowan households. This program was created in recognition that the internet is a necessity for those seeking to navigate any corner of the modern world, and is relied upon by millions of Americans – especially those in rural America.

So why won’t Iowa Republicans support Iowa families and support the bipartisan legislation introduced that would extend the program through the end of the year?

Rep. Randy Feenstra says that “IA-04 families deserve access to high-speed, affordable broadband” when it’s his bill on the table. Now, because this proposal was a result of President Biden’s American Rescue Act, he’s changed his tune. Will Randy Feenstra explain to the 124,000 Iowans who benefit from the ACP why he chose to make the internet unaffordable for them?

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks is fully aware of the benefits that this program provides, writing in 2021 about how “the increased accessibility of the internet has allowed doctors to reach patients, friends to reconnect, given our students more opportunities to learn, and workers more opportunities to live in rural America while working anywhere,” calling the digital divide between urban and rural internet access “unacceptable.” Why won’t Mariannette Miller-meeks support extending the ACP? Is she all talk on rural internet access?

Rep. Zach Nunn likes to say that he supports investing in internet access for Iowans, writing in 2021 that “Now is the time to make history,” and that “all Iowans deserve quality broadband internet service.” If Zach Nunn believes in ensuring Iowans have access to the internet, why hasn’t he signed on in support of extending the program?

Finally, Rep. Ashley Hinson likes to say she’s an advocate for “expanding broadband access” and “listening to the needs of rural Iowans.” If what Congresswoman Hinson says is true, then why won’t she “listen to the needs” of the thousands of rural Iowans who rely on the ACP to access vital services like healthcare and work opportunities?

“Rural internet access is one of the few issues where we are usually able to cross party lines. Iowa Republican and Democratic voters alike rely on this program and are happy that it exists. Yet, because the program was created by a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, Iowa Republicans are throwing a tantrum and killing a good program simply because it didn’t have their name on it,” said IDP Chair Rita Hart. “This is politics, clear and simple. Iowa’s Republican representatives need to grow up, do the hard job of governing instead of campaigning, and vote to extend the program.”