IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Nevada Politicians Put Spotlight on High-Speed Internet

High-ranking Democrats are making a big deal about expanding access to and affordability of high-speed Internet in Nevada and elsewhere, and they'll continue to highlight the issue this week with a major announcement.

Nevada
(TNS) — High-ranking Democrats are making a big deal about expanding access to and affordability of high-speed internet in Nevada and elsewhere, and they'll continue to highlight the issue this week with a major announcement.

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris sent a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak, a fellow Democrat, encouraging him to help more Nevadans take part in a new federal program that aims to make high-speed internet more affordable for Americans.

"In the 21st century, high-speed internet is essential for success," Harris wrote. "Americans use their high-speed internet connection to receive an education, train for a new career, build a business and keep in touch with loved ones who live far away. But in states across our nation, far too many families remain unconnected."

The Affordable Connectivity Program was created as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that passed Congress in late 2021. It gives eligible households a discount of up to $30 per month off their internet bills. It also gives households living on tribal lands $75 off their bill every month and a one-time $100 discount to buy a laptop, tablet or desktop.

"To lower the cost of internet further," Harris wrote, "our administration secured commitments from internet service providers across the country to offer high-speed plans that are fully covered by the ACP."

The letter estimates that there are 303,000 eligible Nevadans who haven't claimed their program benefits. To see if you're eligiblet, go to GetInternet.gov.

Harris encouraged Sisolak to enter data-matching agreements with the Federal Communications Commission that allow automatic confirmation of eligibility by matching a household's information with existing state government data for households that already participate in other government programs. Then families can be automatically notified that they are eligible.

"For far too long, high-speed internet has been out of reach for far too many" Harris wrote. "With your help, we can connect more Nevadans with high-speed internet and the opportunity it brings."

Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Secretary Tom Vilsack would travel to Reno for an announcement Thursday about what it called significant investments in rural broadband in Nevada and across the country. The announcement supports the Biden administration's efforts to help all Americans access affordable high-speed internet as well as the USDA's continuing investments in the ReConnect Loan and Grant Program that provides funds for the construction and improvement of facilities needed to provide broadband service in rural areas, according to the announcement.

Poll shows statistical dead heat

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo's campaign for governor released a poll last week showing Lombardo, the Republican nominee for governor is two points behind Sisolak, the Democratic incumbent.

The Tarrance Group, a Republican strategic research firm, conducted a survey for Lombardo's campaign between July 5 and July 10 with 600 likely registered voters in Nevada. It found that the governor's race was in a "statistical dead heat," according to the memo the Tarrance Group provided to the campaign.

Sisolak found support among 46% of the respondents while 44% favored Lombardo. Five-percent said neither option, and 5% were undecided.

Among Hispanic voters, Sisolak is trailing Lombardo, with 44% of those polled indicating they would vote for Lombardo and 42% for Sisolak. Eight-percent said neither option, and 5% were undecided.

The survey found that amongnon-affiliated voters, Lombardo was ahead by a whoppin g16 points. Thirty-three percent of likely non-affiliated voters said they would vote for Sisolak, according to the Tarrance Group.

The Tarrance Group wrote in the memo that the survey mirrors other public polls that have led political analysts to label Nevada's gubernatorial race as a "pure tossup." It called Sisolak's position weak for an incumbent.

" Governor Sisolak and Joe Biden's bleak approval ratings are a referendum on the Sisolak-Biden agenda," Elizabeth Ray, the spokesperson for Lombardo's campaign, said in a statement, "which has left most Nevadans worse off than they were four years ago. Meanwhile, Sheriff Lombardo's support among Independent and Hispanic voters shows just how eager Nevadans are for new leadership."

Insulin costs

The Nevada Republican Party welcomed Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D- Nev., to the " Trump Train" on Twitter after she posted that she is "working to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month. Over 250,000 Nevadans need insulin to stay healthy, and they shouldn't have to struggle to afford it."

The Nevada Republican Party shared an article with the headline, " Joe Biden suspends Trump executive order to lower insulin, epinephrine prices."

While it is true that Biden suspended Trump's order to lower insulin costs, it would not have helped the vast majority of the nation's diabetics, according to fact checkers.

In July 2020, Trump signed Executive Order 13937 with the stated goal of making insulin and EpiPens more affordable, according to verifythis.com. The order didn't go into effect right away, and when Biden took office he froze the order so that his staff could look into it further.

Trump's order would have lowered the cost of insulin for low-income patients who go to "Federally Qualified Health Centers," which would receive discounted prices through the 340B Prescription Drug Program, according to the Federal Register. Federally Qualified Health Centers are community clinics that receive government funding to help vulnerable populations.

But just 1 in 11 Americans use Federally Qualified Health Centers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Primary Care, and then only a fraction of those patients fall below the income threshold and also use insulin. Fact checkers say the order would not have made insulin cheaper for most Americans.

But critics of Biden's decision to suspend the order might have a point: Even if it would have helped only a small fraction of the population, wouldn't that be better than no help?

Under Biden, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the notice rescinding the order, said Trump's order would have resulted in "excessive administrative costs and burdens" on health centers. The order would require health centers to create new practices to determine patients' eligibility, and HHS believes the order would have led to "reduced resources available to support critical services to health center patients."

Nevadans in D.C.

U.S. Reps. Dina Titus, D- Nev., and Garret Graves, R- La., last week introduced the Disaster Survivors Fairness Act of 2022, which aims to simplify the process for seeking assistance after a major disaster and expand communities' access to hazard mitigation assistance, according to a statement from Titus' office.

It aims to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency cut through red tape in its assistance programs and deliver resources to communities in the most need, thestatement said.

"It is no surprise that climate change, and the related severe weather events are changing the emergency management landscape because today's disasters cause more damage, have greater impacts on communities and require more time to recover," Titus said in the statement.

Also last week, Sens. Jacky Rosen, D- Nev., and Marsha Blackburn, R- Tenn., and Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, D- Pa., and Pat Fallon, R- Texas, introduced the Investing in American Defense Technologies Act, which aims to establish a federal public-private partnership investing in defense-centric small businesses, according to a statement from Rosen's office.

The program would fuel investment in small businesses that are developing defense technologies to help national security.

"To stay ahead of our adversaries, it's critical that the United States maintain its technological competitive edge by investing in our defense-focused small businesses," Rosen said in a statement.

© 2022 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.