Robin Groulx / Axios

The FCC is moving to pull back one aspect of an Obama-era effort to reform to a program that subsidizes internet and phone service for low-income people, possibly presaging a larger effort to change the program.

The details:

  • Under Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC expanded the Lifeline program to cover broadband and said that the companies that provide that service could be approved by the federal government, rather than on a state-by-state basis. Some states sued over that change.
  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Wednesday that while he supports including broadband in the program, "the FCC will soon begin a proceeding to eliminate the new federal designation process." It will also stop defending the process in court, and Pai said the agency should reject the applications submitted through the process.

Why it matters: This is just the beginning of a battle over the future of Lifeline. Pai drew headlines earlier this year when he moved to rescind the certification of several Lifeline providers approved under Wheeler — including among the applications he thinks should be rejected — and wants major changes to the program. Mignon Clyburn, currently the commission's only Democrat, said in a statement that Pai's "statement confirms that under this Administration low-income Americans will have less choice for Lifeline broadband, and potential providers who want to serve low-income Americans will face greater barriers to entry and regulatory uncertainty."

What we're watching: Whether this changes which companies — or how many — come to the table to provide broadband service through the program, since they will no longer be able to get certified through a centralized federal process.

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 12,520,431 — Total deaths: 560,830 — Total recoveries — 6,900,718Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 3,184,722 — Total deaths: 134,830 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,856,341Map.
  3. Public health: The reality of the coronavirus bites.
  4. Trade: Trump says he's no longer considering phase-two trade deal with China because the pandemic damaged the two countries' relationship.
  5. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.
2 hours ago - Health

We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

By any standard, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. is losing its war against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic is not an abstraction, and it is not something that’s simmering in the background. It is an ongoing emergency ravaging nearly the entire country, with a loss of life equivalent to a Sept. 11 every three days — for four months and counting.

Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.