On June 5, President Clinton gave the commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and expressed his support of the E-rate. Here is the pertinent part of his speech:
"You may have heard recently about something called the e-rate. It's the most crucial initiative we've launched to help connect our schools, our libraries, and our rural health centers to the Internet. Now some businesses have called on Congress to repeal the initiative. They say our nation cannot afford to provide discounts to these institutions of learning and health by raising a billion dollars or so a year from service charges on telecommunications companies — something that was agreed to in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both Houses.
I say we cannot afford not to have an e-rate. Thousands of poor schools and libraries and rural health centers are in desperate need of discounts. If we really believed that we all belong in the Information Age, then, at this sunlit moment of prosperity, we can't leave anyone behind in the dark.
Every one of you who understands this I urge to support the e-rate. Every one of you here who came from a poor inner-city neighborhood, who came from a small rural school district, who came perhaps from another country where this was just a distant dream, you know that there are poor children now who may never have a chance to go to MIT unless someone reaches out and gives them this kind of opportunity. Every child in America deserves the chance to participate in the information revolution."