The budget was raised from $1.6 billion to $2.25 billion, but there is no cap on expenditures.
Here is a quote from the assenting opinion of Commissioner Tom Wheeler:
“By dramatically improving Lifeline’s management and design, and putting the program on sound fiscal footing moving forward, we will help low-income Americans all across our nation connect to the Internet and the opportunities of the broadband revolution. Internet access has become essential for full participation in our modern economy and our society, but 64.5 million Americans are missing out on the opportunities made possible by the most powerful and pervasive platform in history.”
Here is a quote the dissenting opinion from commissioner Ajit Pai.
“….. I cannot support this Order. It is not fiscally responsible. It does not clean up the waste, fraud, and abuse. And it consigns Lifeline consumers to second-class broadband services for the foreseeable future. On top of this, the Order does not comply with federal law. For all these reasons, I dissent.”
Within the assenting and dissenting opinions there is a description of a late night meeting trying to gain consensus from the Commissioners. It sounds like they almost got there having settled on a cap on expenditures of $2.0 billion and other items. But it failed in the end and we are left with a partisan vote and ill will. The new FCC Commissioner in the Trump administration is now Mr. Pai, so the shoe is on the other foot. Who knows what happens next. In the meantime the bureaucracy moves forward with complex rules being passed down to telecommunication companies and ultimately to consumers. A new “National Verifier” program is being created so the FCC can more fully operate as the 8th federal agency to run a full welfare Program (see Safety Net Page). All this for $9.25 per month per household which is not even 1% of the poverty threshold.
As an anti-poverty program Lifeline is like going to your doctor for a broken arm and he decides to trim your toenails. I read the Order and wanted to cry. Our poor country - as it relates to welfare we are so off base.