May 28, 2024

But some supporters say targeting eligibility would not necessarily be a bad thing. “Just earlier this week, the president of a local internet service provider said he was informed that he’s eligible for the $30 a month because the school lunch program in [West Virginia] makes everybody eligible,” Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said in a hearing last week, saying that while she is “supportive of the program,” she believes “we’ve got to narrow it down to the need.”

John Heitmann, the outside counsel for the National Lifeline Association, said that narrowing the eligibility would still ensure that those who need the program the most would be able to obtain it. “They’re people who have trouble connecting to the internet every month and make choices whether to buy food or connectivity,” said Heitmann.

The changes in the amendment are reflective of some hard opposition in Congress. Several Republicans have raised concerns about whether the ACP truly connected a new population of Americans to the internet, and whether it is duplicative of a preexisting program to help low-income families secure broadband access. GOP Senator Ted Cruz has argued that the program Lifeline, which is also intended to lower internet costs, renders the ACP redundant. (Lifeline offers lower subsidies and has a 135 percent income threshold.)