The House Appropriations
Committee Friday unveiled a stopgap continuing resolution
that would keep the government running if the Senate does not approve--and it
almost surely won't--the Republican-backed longer-term CR that cuts FCC funding
for net neutrality rules and CPB funding altogether.
But while the CR-lite
version would not have those cuts, it would require cutting $29 million in
broadband loan subsidies via the Department of Agriculture.
The committee points out
that the President's budget did not have those broadband funds in it, and also
pointed out "the Agriculture Inspector General has uncovered abuses and
inconsistencies in the program as well as a lack of focus on the rural
communities it is intended to serve."
The Ag Department has
already handed out billions in one-time broadband stimulus funds and loans and
the Republicans say the $29 million would be duplicative of other programs.
The current continuing
resolution expires Mar. 4, and the Senate has yet to vote on the longer version
of the bill, which the President has threatened to veto. The
"lite" version would last only two weeks--through Mar. 18--except for
the $4.1 billion in cuts it would make, including the ag broadband loans.