U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, left, meets with Vice President Harris, right, and Bipartisan Congressional Leaders Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to discuss broadband infrastructure priorities. Courtesy/BRL
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and bipartisan Congressional leaders met Wednesday with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss broadband infrastructure priorities, including broadband affordability and financing to bridge the digital divide and achieve 100 percent connectivity across America.
“Long before COVID-19, too many New Mexico families went without affordable, reliable broadband. The pandemic highlighted these inequities across America and underscored the need for action. The Biden-Harris administration continues to be a strong partner in making broadband infrastructure a top priority, and it was an honor meeting with Vice President Harris and bipartisan leaders to discuss broadband needs.
“To bridge the digital divide and achieve 100 percent connectivity across America, the federal government must make broadband more accessible – including in rural and Tribal communities. I shared the story with Vice President Harris of 16-year-old Heleen Archuleta, who joined me earlier this year to discuss the homework gap, and explained how affordable broadband would change the lives of countless New Mexico students. Strong investments, like those made in the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act that I championed in the House, would deploy broadband infrastructure nationwide as well as address affordability. New options for financing, like the Broadband Investment Finance and Innovation Act that I introduced, would also empower communities to leverage federal dollars and increase competition to make a larger impact.
“As I did in an earlier meeting in the Oval Office, I discussed the need to appoint a fifth commissioner and make Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel the permanent Chairwoman at the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the FCC can make progress in bridging the digital divide. It should also be a priority for the administration to put forward a nominee to serve as Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. There is still work to do, and I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that the infrastructure package includes robust broadband investments that will best serve New Mexicans.”