WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today responded to the Federal Communications Commission’s vote that failed to include a funding cap as part of its expansion of the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program.
“The benefits of broadband Internet access and adoption are nearly boundless. We share the goal of making sure all Americans can connect to this fundamental tool of economic growth and social connectivity, but we cannot stand by as uncapped spending threatens to undermine the USF and its benefits. Unfortunately, it appears the order adopted by the FCC today – which still has not seen the light of day – fails to protect ratepayers from runaway costs and lacks necessary metrics to gauge performance,” said Upton and Walden. “We have called time–and–again for the FCC to rein in out of control costs in the USF. The commission has agreed that the program should be put on a budget, but despite this important recognition, there is still no fiscal restraint in sight.”
They continued, “Before making the necessary reforms to modernize the USF for the 21st century, the commission should ensure the fund’s long-term solvency. This includes capping the Lifeline program at its current level of $1.6 billion. We are disappointed the commission majority doesn’t share that commonsense goal.”