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Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE (D-W.Va.) has placed a hold on a Republican nomination to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the agency’s decision to pause a program that would fund wireless internet expansion in rural areas.

Manchin announced the hold on Commissioner Brendan Carr’s renomination Thursday, a week after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the agency’s Mobility Fund Phase II program would be suspended temporarily while regulators investigate whether major wireless carriers submitted false data on their coverage maps.

Manchin said that “inaccurate” maps are not a good enough reason to put the funds on hold.

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“Last week the FCC finally recognized that their broadband maps were inaccurate,” Manchin said in a statement. “That’s something that I have been saying since day one. But the answer is not to put the Mobility Fund on an indefinite hold that prevents states like West Virginia from receiving the funding they desperately need to deploy mobile broadband.”

Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Smart or senseless for Biden to spend time in Georgia, Iowa? Alaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Biden's oil stance jars Democrats in tough races MORE (R-Alaska) had also placed a hold on Carr’s nomination earlier this year in another dispute with the FCC.

Pai said last week that the agency would be looking into whether “one or more major carriers” had submitted false broadband mapping data in violation of commission rules.

The chairman said the rollout of the $4.53 billion mobility fund would be suspended until the investigation is complete.

A spokeswoman for the FCC declined to comment.