SC Senators Push Broadband; The Ossoff plan passes; Biden slams Ga law.
WASHINGTON – Republican Senators from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have introduced legislation to extend high-speed Internet access to underserved rural areas across the country.
The State Fix Act would provide $ 20 billion for broadband infrastructure using fiber optic cables, wireless and 5G technologies, according to Graham spokesperson Toby Tyler.
“Connectivity is absolutely essential for South Carolina families and businesses,” Scott said. “Increased broadband access means more opportunities for rural and underserved communities, which has a positive impact on everything from education and healthcare to business and workforce development. . “
The bill also uses a reverse auction method to provide “premium broadband service” at the lowest price to taxpayers and bases a state’s funding on their unserved populations and a percentage of their populations. underserved to distribute funds to needy areas like rural America. and areas of opportunity, he said.
“There are places in South Carolina where you might as well be over the moon when it comes to getting high speed internet service,” Graham said. “Everyone in South Carolina should be able to enjoy the education, telehealth and business benefits of accessible and affordable broadband. There is bipartisan support to expand broadband access, and our legislation dramatically improves access in rural and underserved areas. “
Unserved communities are defined as those without Internet access, while underserved communities are defined as those with poor quality service.
Senate supports extension of paycheque protection program deadline
WASHINGTON – The United States Senate on Thursday passed legislation co-sponsored by Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff to extend the deadline for the paycheck protection program to the end of May. Without action on this legislation, the program would have expired in just a few days.
The 2021 PPP Extension Law was passed by the United States House last week and is now expected to be enacted by President Biden before the end of the month.
“The adoption of this bill is a huge victory for Georgian small businesses, which can now apply for PPP loans until May,” Ossoff said. “Any small business with questions about accessing this help should contact my office. “
The legislation extends the deadline for small businesses to apply for a PPP loan from March 31 to May 31 and will give the Small Business Administration until the end of June to process and approve the applications.
The PPP program was first adopted last year under the CARES law. Since then, small businesses in Georgia have received more than 260,000 loans to the tune of nearly $ 19 billion, keeping them afloat during the pandemic.
By the end of the month, an estimated $ 25 billion to $ 65 billion remains in the program.
Biden denounces Georgia’s new voting measures
WASHINGTON – Democratic President Joe Biden issued a statement on Friday opposing Georgia’s newly signed electoral legislation.
The Republican-backed measure places new restrictions on postal voting and gives the legislature greater control over the conduct of elections.
Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately deprive voters of color.
This is part of a wave of GOP-backed election bills introduced in states across the country after former President Donald Trump fueled false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat.
Here is Biden’s statement:
More Americans voted in the 2020 election than any election in our country’s history. In Georgia, we have seen this most historic demonstration of the power of the vote twice – in November, and then again in the run-off elections for the U.S. Senate seats in January. Count after recount and court case after court case confirmed the integrity and outcome of a clearly free, fair and safe democratic process.
Yet instead of celebrating the right to vote of all Georgians or winning campaigns on the merits of their ideas, the state’s Republicans instead rushed through an anti-American law to deny people the right to vote. vote. This law, like so many others pursued by Republicans in state houses across the country, is a blatant attack on the Constitution and on good conscience. Among the scandalous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours earlier so workers cannot vote after their shift is over. It adds rigid restrictions on postal voting that will effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters. And it’s a crime to provide voters with water while they queue – lines that Republican officials themselves have created by reducing the number of polling stations across the state, disproportionately. in black neighborhoods.
This is Jim Crow in the 21st century. It must end. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to act. I once again urge Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to make it easier for all eligible Americans to vote and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote. And I will take my case to the American people – including the Republicans who joined the largest coalition of voters ever in the last election to put the country ahead of the party. If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp responded:
“It is evident that neither President Biden nor his managers have actually read SB 202, which I signed yesterday. This bill extends access to the vote, streamlines the counting procedures and guarantees the integrity of the elections. There is nothing “Jim Crow” about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by post – every Georgian voter must already do so when voting in person. President Biden, the left and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box. As Secretary of State, I have consistently led the fight to protect Georgia’s elections from power-hungry partisan activists. As governor, I will not give up on keeping the elections in Georgia safe, accessible and fair. “
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