Fifteen House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats urge the FCC to expand Lifeline during COVID-19 pandemic

Fifteen members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have urged FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to provide unlimited voice minutes and mobile data as well as an increase in the support amount to Lifeline participants for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The federal Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25 per month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. CWA has long supported the Lifeline program and urged the FCC to modernize the program to include broadband, which the Commission did in 2016. The additional funding aims to improve the Lifeline program’s level of service, advertisement, application process, to increase eligible broadband providers, and to meet the increase in demand. 

“While the FCC has taken some small steps since March to tweak the Lifeline program’s rules, much bolder action is necessary,” the Committee members wrote to Pai.  “A strong response is critical given the supreme importance of connectivity while the country continues its efforts to combat the unprecedented and devastating COVID-19 pandemic.”

The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Donald McEachin (D-VA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

Links:

E&C Democrats urge Pai to expand connectivity using FCC’s Lifeline program during COVID-19 pandemic (US House, Aug. 13, 2020)