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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at an open meeting earlier this year. Photo: Robin Groulx/Axios

The FCC's Republican majority moved forward Thursday — over the objection of the agency's two Democrats — with a proposal to limit the Lifeline subsidy program providing phone and internet service to low-income people.

Why it matters: The vote is preliminary, but should the agency move forward with the plan, it would change a program used by millions.

The details:

  • The agency voted to limit a higher subsidy, offered on tribal lands, only to providers that own their own network infrastructure, as opposed to the many providers that rent it.
  • It will also formally consider whether to apply that policy across the entire Lifeline program and cap the program's spending. A second vote is required for those to take action.

What they're saying: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that his plan would encourage companies to build physical networks in areas they've previously ignored and cut down on waste in the program.

The other side: Advocates who back the way the program currently operates say Pai's plan will eliminate the providers for the vast majority of Lifeline subscribers. Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said his proposal was "devoid of promise and empathy."

Go deeper

Rideshare companies say driver shortage is pushing prices up

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just you: Uber and Lyft rides are more expensive, company executives said this week.

Why it matters: Demand for rideshare is roaring back as the economy starts to reopen, but the same can't be said for drivers on the apps. That means fewer cars on the road, causing a supply gap that's pushing up prices.

Pelosi slams GOP leadership's moves against Liz Cheney

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week condemned Republican efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House GOP conference chair.

Why it matters: A number of Democrats have spoken out against attempts to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Trump, framing the discussion as one essential to the maintenance of American democracy.

What to watch in AMLO's meeting with Harris

Three Mexico national guardsmen stand in front of the metro overpass that collapsed onto a busy highway. Photo: Julián Lopez/ Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Joint efforts to stem the increased number of migrants heading to the U.S. will likely be at the top of discussions when Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hold their virtual meeting on Friday.

The big picture: The U.S. government has consistently asked its southern neighbor to prevent immigrants from reaching the border, mostly through threats like former President Trump’s talk of tariffs.