Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: FCC finalizing plan to subsidize Internet

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond.

Today, when we asked Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) whether he would switch his presidential endorsement from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) he offered a resounding: “Nooooooooooo.” Here’s the latest.



The Obama administration is finalizing a plan to offer subsidies to help more families access broadband Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to approve the measure later this month, The Hill’s Mario Trujillo reports:

Nearly 40 million households will be eligible for small monthly Internet subsidies after the Federal Communications Commission approves final regulations at the end of the month. 

The FCC on Tuesday said it would vote this month to expand the $1.7 billion federal Lifeline program, which currently offers monthly subsidies for phone and basic cell service. The program will expand to allow people to help defray the cost of Internet service.

Proposed rules were approved last year, and the final order was being circulated to all five commissioners on Tuesday.

All three Democratic commissioners have expressed support for the expansion, but Republicans point to lingering waste and inefficiencies in the Lifeline program. 

The rules will not increase the $9.25 reimbursement and would keep in place the limit of one subsidy per household, meaning eligible customers could either spend it on Internet, phone service or bundled service. But the aim is to transition the program away from voice and to Internet service. 

The current program has an estimated 13 million household subscribers. That is only about a third of the estimated 39.7 million households that are eligible, according to the Universal Service Administrative Company. 



The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). http://1.usa.gov/1QqFF0G

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from Attorney General Loretta Lynch during an oversight hearing. http://1.usa.gov/1WZZ7mI



The Obama administration will publish 202 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register. 

{mosads}–The Census Bureau will propose new export reporting requirements.

“The Census Bureau is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing trade statistics for the United States,” the agency writes.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1U2mL3S

–The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will propose new records management regulations.

The changes include new rules for managing “vital records, records disposition programs, general records schedules, emergency authorization to destroy records, transfer of records to records storage facilities, transfer, use, and disposition of records,” the agency writes.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1QBzhUn

–The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will exempt dozens of truck drivers who are hard of hearing from rules that would otherwise prohibit them from operating commercial motor vehicles.

The FMCSA is renewing the exemptions for 36 truck drivers who do not meet the agency’s hearing standard. http://bit.ly/1QJT2Ha

The FMCSA will also consider allowing dozens more truck drivers with a history of seizures get behind the wheel. The agency is reviewing applications from 31 truck drivers who have been diagnosed with epilepsy “or any other condition that is likely to cause a loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle.” http://bit.ly/1TqCd9Y

In both cases, the truck drivers who are granted these exemptions have overcome their disabilities and present no more of a danger on the road than any other driver, the agency noted.

The public has 30 days to comment. 

–The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue new recommendations for feeding farm animals. The guidelines would “ensure the safety of animal feed maintained and fed to animals on the farm,” the agency writes.

The public can comment at any time. http://bit.ly/1pes6Zx



Senate Banking to consider SEC nominees. http://bit.ly/1QJWykY

Study: Trump’s trade agenda could cost $250B. http://bit.ly/1QJVSMl

Giffords endorses former Ohio governor in tight Senate race. http://bit.ly/21jY4PC

Dems defend Obama’s immigration actions in Supreme Court brief. http://bit.ly/1YtmLcz

FCC outlines Internet speed standards for Lifeline. http://bit.ly/24P9BuN

FBI agents investigated for shooting at Oregon militia member. http://bit.ly/1QF793T

Yelp dives into dust-up over size of Trump’s hands. http://bit.ly/1RQmkXe



$250B: The cost of Trump’s plan to restrict trade with China and Mexico, according to the American Action Forum.



“Internet access has become a pre-requisite for full participation in our economy and our society, but nearly one in five Americans is still not benefitting from the opportunities made possible by the most powerful and pervasive platform in history,” — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.


We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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