Header graphic for print
Lifeline Law Advisor Insight & Commentary on Lifeline Program Compliance & Regulatory Issues

Category Archives: Congress

Subscribe to Congress RSS Feed

Lawmakers Echo FCC Chairman’s Call for Lifeline to Support Broadband

Posted in Congress, FCC, USAC

Members of Congress are asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to further modernize the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet services. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and 85 other members of the House sent a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler on February 11, asking that the Lifeline subsidy be made available to “all telecommunication services.”  The lawmakers… Continue Reading

Update: Senate Hearing Vents Lifeline Concerns, Proposals In Advance of New FCC Rulemaking

Posted in Congress

As previously reported, on June 2 the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet held a hearing on “Lifeline: Improving Accountability and Effectiveness,” in anticipation of the FCC’s expected June 18 adoption of a new Lifeline order and further notice of proposed rulemaking.  It is anticipated that the notice will propose further changes… Continue Reading

Senate Subcommittee To Hold June 2 Hearing on Lifeline

Posted in Congress

In advance of the FCC’s expected adoption on June 18 of a new order and further notice of proposed rulemaking proposing further changes in the Lifeline program, the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet has announced a hearing on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 on “Lifeline: Improving Accountability and Effectiveness.” (The anticipated… Continue Reading

President Obama Urged by Congressmembers to Prioritize Enforcement and Databases

Posted in Congress

On October 1, 2013, six ranking members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama regarding the Federal Lifeline Program.   In the letter, Congressmembers Lujan, Waxman, Eshoo, Doyle, Matsui, and Welch urged the President to continue recent enforcement  actions as well as prioritize the construction of eligibility databases because millions of low income Americans depend on… Continue Reading

Alleged Forgery Leads to Further Calls for Reform from Sen. McCaskill

Posted in Congress

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent another letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn calling for further reforms of the Lifeline program, and threatening to eliminate the program if the agency fails to take further action to address waste, fraud and abuse, such as referring allegations of fraud to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.  The… Continue Reading

36 Public Interest Groups Respond to Sen. McCaskill and Urge FCC Not to Defund Lifeline

Posted in Congress

A coalition of thirty-six public interest, civil rights and community organizations responded to Senator McCaskill’s recent letter to the FCC, which suggested that Lifeline be de-funded and the money instead be used to fund new initiatives in the E-rate program.  The coalition, which includes AARP, United Church of Christ and Consumers Union, pointed out that seniors,… Continue Reading

Wheeler Confirmation Hearing for FCC Chairmanship Set for June 18

Posted in Congress

The U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee, chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), has scheduled a hearing on President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Wheeler to be Chairman of the FCC on Tuesday, June 18 at 2:30 PM Eastern.  The hearing will be webcast on the Committee’s website.  While a full Senate vote to approve Mr. Wheeler’s nomination theoretically… Continue Reading

Sen. McCaskill Asks FCC to Defund Lifeline

Posted in Congress

On June 11, Senator Claire McCaskill, a long-time critic of the Lifeline program, sent a letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, requesting that the FCC “reevaluate” the Lifeline program and determine whether that funding should instead be used to fund the ConnectED initiative recently announced by the President.  That initiative seeks, among other goals,… Continue Reading

GAO Audit Requested by Sen. McCaskill

Posted in Congress

Senator Claire McCaskill, a long-time critic of the Lifeline program, has sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), requesting that it evaluate the FCC’s recent reforms.  She requested that the GAO’s Forensic Audit and Investigative Service team examine the extent to which the reforms have been effective and whether further reforms are necessary.  The letter… Continue Reading

Legislation Introduced in Senate to Eliminate Lifeline Funding for Cellphone Service

Posted in Congress

Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Inhofe (R-OK) introduced legislation today to end Lifeline funding for cellphone service.  While the text of the legislation has not been posted, in a statement about the bill Sen. Vitter said that the program “has expanded far beyond its original intent,” presumably referring to the decision to permit wireless prepaid carriers… Continue Reading

Testimony Posted in Advance of Congressional Lifeline Hearing

Posted in Congress

As discussed in our earlier blog post, the sub-committee of the U.S. House of Representatives charged with overseeing the telecommunications industry (the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce), will hold a hearing today to discuss the federal Lifeline program.  In advance of the hearing, the witnesses who will testify have submitted… Continue Reading

Bill Would Create Lifeline Program Aimed at Broadband Support

Posted in Congress

On April 23, 2013 House Representative Matsui of California, along with other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced “The Broadband Adoption Act of 2013.”  The bill, if enacted, would direct the FCC to establish Lifeline support for broadband services for low-income customers, modeled after the existing Lifeline program.  “The Lifeline program provides… Continue Reading

Congressional Hearing on Lifeline Set for April 25

Posted in Congress

The U.S. Congressional House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees the federal universal service program, sent a letter today to FCC Chairman Genachowski, notifying the agency that it will hold a hearing on the Lifeline program on April 25, 2013.  Some of the questions raised in the letter likely to be addressed… Continue Reading

Congressional Proposal to Eliminate Lifeline Defeated

Posted in Congress

Last Friday, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) proposed an amendment to the U.S. Senate’s budget resolution which, if adopted, would have eliminated mobile phone services from the federal Lifeline program.  The amendment was defeated by a vote along party lines, with the exception of Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri as the only Democrat supporting the measure. … Continue Reading