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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Peter DeFazio (4th District of OREGON)

May 1, 2020

Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) today led more than 50 lawmakers in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging him to ensure that Americans with limited or no internet access are able to receive Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible.

As part of the economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send Economic Impact Payments to eligible taxpayers. The IRS is working with other federal agencies to conduct a public awareness campaign to ensure individuals who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 are aware of their eligibility, and they are asking these individuals to file a simple return online to expedite the process. However, many eligible low-income and rural Americans face significant challenges in filing a tax return online due to limited or no internet access.

In their letter, the lawmakers urged Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) to redouble its efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are able to receive their Economic Impact Payments in a timely manner—including those without access to the internet who cannot file a tax return electronically.

“Treasury must continue to focus on ensuring that those who need this assistance the most can receive their Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to leverage the resources and information at your disposal or partner with the necessary federal agencies to get this relief into the hands of those who need it the most, including Americans who do not have internet access.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 21 million Americans are without access to high-speed internet. Furthermore, a 2019 Pew Research Survey found that 50 percent of non-broadband users cite cost as a reason they do not have broadband at home.

A PDF version of the letter is available here.

 

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