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Senate Approves Ruiz Resolutions Urging Federal Government to Address Gaps in Government Assistance and Broadband Internet Service

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TRENTON – The Senate approved two resolutions today sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz that urge the President and Congress to make improvements to the calculation of the federal poverty level and renew funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The two major federal programs benefit thousands of New Jerseyans, the majority of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The first concurrent resolution, SCR-93, urges the President and Congress to enact the “Poverty Line Act of 2023,” which would update the way the federal government calculates the federal poverty guidelines by accounting for real costs and regional differences.

“This resolution calls for the President and Congress to increase the federal poverty level cap and account for the variance in the cost of living across the country. Our current federal poverty guidelines follow a model that is based on a household’s needs that was established in the 1960’s, and is not based on the current cost of necessities,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex/Hudson). “The formula for families to receive benefits should not be a one-size-fits-all approach that is decades old. By considering regional differences in eligibility we can help more families put food on the table and provide critical support during economic hardship.”

The concurrent resolution passed the Senate in a 38-0 vote.

The second resolution, SR-82, pushes Congress to renew funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP provides financial assistance to eligible households for acquiring broadband internet services and certain computers. Funding for the ACP is set to expire in April.

“The Affordable Connectivity Program has already helped over 300,000 households in New Jersey acquire broadband internet service or upgraded computer technology,” said Senator Ruiz. “Reliable internet service at home can improve social and economic outcomes, enhance digital literacy skills, and give individuals greater access to quality health care. I encourage Congress to renew funding for the ACP to prevent service disruptions and the widening of the digital divide.”

The resolution passed the Senate in a 38-0 vote.