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The next coronavirus relief bill needs to solve America’s unbanked and unwired crises

Fred Hochberg

By Fred P. Hochberg (original source The Hill)

“Just two weeks after Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act to provide relief to businesses and families hammered by the coronavirus lockdown, discussions are turning to another legislative package, which simply must address two urgent problems: Too many Americans don’t have access to banks, and they don’t have high-speed broadband. If they don’t get both soon, they will be in desperate straits.

We already know that low-income people and people of color are being infected and dying at higher rates and are facing the worst economic fallout. Rural areas – many of which have similar health and economic vulnerabilities – could face the same problems when coronavirus hits their communities. Getting immediate access to relief funds and to high-speed internet is, literally, a matter of life and death for millions of Americans. 

Consider that, this week, Americans will start receiving some of the $290 billion in direct payments authorized under CARES Act. The average household will get $1,523, and 60 million payments will be made immediately by Treasury through direct deposit to people with bank account information on file with the IRS.” 

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