Republicans Launch New ACP Proposals Amid Legislative Stalemate

Republicans Launch New ACP Proposals Amid Legislative Stalemate

Two new proposals have emerged to secure funding for an expiring internet subsidy program that supports 23 million low-income U.S. households with their monthly broadband bills.

The first proposal involves adding funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which will end in ten days. The second plan is a smaller version of the current ACP monthly subsidy.

On Monday, Rep. Brandon Williams from New York introduced a bill (H.R. 8466) that would change the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 to provide $6 billion to the ACP.

His plan focused on preventing fraud and improving accountability, making it easier to spot and deal with fraud.

The plan includes sign up for the ACP through the National Verifier or National Lifeline Accountability Database which will verify the application and check their specific requirements, preventing multiple enrollments by the same household.

In a press release on Monday, Williams expressed that his plan would not increase taxes, as the funding would come from existing federal resources.

However, bill has not been released yet, and there was no mention of changing the current $30 monthly ACP benefit in the press release.

Moreover, William also guaranteed that all households will keep receiving benefits for 180 days after the bill passes, no matter their future eligibility.

Republicans Launch New ACP Proposals Amid Legislative Stalemate
Republicans Launch New ACP Proposals Amid Legislative Stalemate

Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas suggested another plan last Wednesday, proposing to reduce the ACP monthly subsidy for urban areas from $30 to $10.

His plan also suggest a stricter verification, making participants provide the last four digits of their Social Security numbers to enroll.

Moreover, his plans aims to stop overlapping with the Lifeline Program, an older subsidy that helps low-income households with phone and internet services.

According to Politico, Cruz’s plan would also exclude able-bodied adults without dependents from receiving ACP subsidies.

He had suggested that the FCC should stop Lifeline’s broadband support to avoid duplication.

The Lifeline program currently offers eligible consumers up to $9.25 off the cost of phone, internet, or bundled services. The bill was to be introduced last Thursday, but it has not been officially introduced until now.

Senator Ted Cruz has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), criticizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for poor management and failing to catch fraud effectively within the program.

In December, Cruz and other Republicans sent a letter to the FCC, calling the ACP “wasteful.”

However, FCC data shows that 68 percent of ACP households had unreliable or no internet access before the program started.

Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington has proposed allowing the FCC to borrow $7 billion from the Treasury to support the ACP.

However, Cantwell’s proposal, along with other bills such as the ACP Extension Act, which also seeks $7 billion for the ACP, has not progressed much since its introduction. More to be updated soon.

About the author

William Smith

William Smith is a dynamic editor at World-Wire, covering a wide range of topics including health, technology, travel, and events. Known for his ability to simplify complex subjects, he engages readers with his insightful FAQs and articles. His diverse expertise has earned him accolades, including the "Excellence in Diverse Journalism" award in 2022.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment