H. R. 2524
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 14, 2021
Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish a program to make grants to States to inform Medicaid enrollees, SNAP participants, and low-income residents of potential eligibility for the Lifeline program of the Commission.
This Act may be cited as the
Promoting Access to Broadband Act of 2021.
Lifeline enrollment outreach grants
In this section:
The term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.
The term covered individuals means—
SNAP participants; and
The term eligible-but-not-enrolled means, with respect to an individual, that the individual is eligible for the Lifeline program but is not enrolled in the Lifeline program.
The term Lifeline program means the Lifeline program of the Commission.
The term low-income means a gross annual income at or below 135 percent of the Federal poverty level.
The term Medicaid enrollee means, with respect to a State, an individual enrolled in the State plan under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.) or a waiver of that plan.
The term reach means, with respect to an individual, to inform the individual of potential eligibility for the Lifeline program and to provide the individual with information about the Lifeline program, as described in subsection (e).
The term SNAP participant means an individual who is a member of a household that participates in the supplemental nutrition assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.).
The term State means each State of the United States, the District of Columbia, each commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, and each federally recognized Indian Tribe.
The Commission shall establish a competitive program to make grants to States to inform covered individuals of potential eligibility for the Lifeline program.
The Commission may only award a grant under this section to a State that submits an application at such time, in such form, and with such information and assurances as the Commission may require.
Matters required to be included
An application submitted by a State under paragraph (1) shall include—
the number of covered individuals in the State;
a plan for the activities that the State will conduct using grant funds, including a list of each agency within the State that will assist in carrying out those activities; and
an estimate of the percentage of eligible-but-not-enrolled individuals in the State who will be reached by those activities.
Minimum of 5 States
The Commission shall award grants under this section to not fewer than 5 States.
Factors for consideration
In awarding grants under this section, the Commission shall give favorable consideration—
to States that have higher numbers of covered individuals; and
to States proposing, in the plans submitted under subsection (c)(2)(B), to conduct activities that have the potential to reach higher percentages of eligible-but-not-enrolled individuals in those States, as determined by the Commission, taking into consideration the estimates submitted under subsection (c)(2)(C).
In awarding grants under this section, the Commission shall, to the maximum extent practicable, select States from different geographic regions of the United States.
Use of funds
A State that receives a grant under this section shall use grant funds, in accordance with the plan included in the application of the State under subsection (c)(2)(B), to—
inform covered individuals and organizations or agencies that serve those individuals, as the case may be under the terms of the grant awarded to the State, of potential eligibility for the Lifeline program;
provide those covered individuals with information about the Lifeline program, including—
how to apply for the Lifeline program; and
a description of the prohibition on more than 1 subscriber in each household receiving a service provided under the Lifeline program; and
partner with nonprofit and community-based organizations to provide those covered individuals with assistance applying for the Lifeline program and information about product and technology choices.
Multiple State agencies
A State that receives a grant under this section may provide grant funds to 1 or more agencies located within the State to carry out the activities under the grant.
Outreach to States regarding grant program
Before accepting applications for the grant program established under this section, the Commission shall conduct outreach to States to ensure that States are aware of the grant program and how to apply for a grant under the grant program.
Report to Congress
Not later than 3 years after establishing the grant program under this section, the Commission shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the effectiveness of the grant program.
The report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include—
the number of individuals notified of Lifeline program eligibility by States receiving grants under this section;
the number of new applicants to the Lifeline program from States receiving grants under this section, including the number of those applicants whose Lifeline program applications were approved and the number of those applicants whose Lifeline program applications were denied; and
the cost-effectiveness of the grant program established under this section.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Commission such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section for the first 5 full fiscal years beginning after the establishment of the grant program under this section.