Just what school children need: more internet! President Obama has a new signature program in the works. “ConnectEd” will provide high-speed internet access to schools, with its multi-billion dollar cost funded by new fees on cell phones. And the beauty of it, according to the administration, is that it can all be done–including the funding–apart from Congress. All it will take is approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
Wouldn’t this constitute taxation without representation?
President Obama liked the idea laid out in a memo from his staff: an ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet access in schools that would allow students to use digital notebooks and teachers to customize lessons like never before. Better yet, the president would not need Congress to approve it.White House senior advisers have described the little-known proposal, announced earlier this summer under the name ConnectEd, as one of the biggest potential achievements of Obama’s second term.
There’s just one catch: The effort would cost billions of dollars, and Obama wants to pay for it by raising fees for mobile-phone users. Doing that relies on the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency that has the power to approve or reject the plan.
Republicans vow to oppose any idea that raises costs for consumers, while others question whether it’s appropriate to use the FCC to fund an initiative that is better left to Congress’s authority.