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Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images.

Democratic lawmakers demanded more transparency Friday into how the Federal Communications Commission is doling out $200 million in coronavirus telehealth funding.

Why it matters: The FCC has awarded about half the money, but lawmakers want to know more about health care providers whose applications have not yet been approved.

Details: In a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone and communications subcommittee chairman Mike Doyle ask the agency to provide a public docket on its website by June 19 with all the applications it has received for funding from the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

  • The agency should provide weekly updates on which applications have been approved, the dates funds were disbursed and a summary of any uses or devices that were not approved for reimbursement, the lawmakers said.
  • "We have heard reports that many health care providers are facing issues obtaining funds, particularly those serving tribal lands," the lawmakers wrote. "Similarly, health care providers report they have been unable to receive funding for some important telehealth equipment that we believe should be covered under the law."

What they're saying: The FCC has been providing weekly updates on the funding applications that have been approved, along with details of the telehealth projects, an agency spokesperson noted.

  • "Going forward, our focus has been and must continue to be on processing all of the applications quickly and carefully, an effort that could be undercut if we turn our attention to creating a new system for posting pending applications," the spokesperson said in a statement.
  • The FCC said this week it has approved nearly $105 million for 305 health care providers across 42 states and Washington, D.C.

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - Technology

Former government officials argue for a new tech agency

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The government should establish a new Digital Platform Agency to regulate major tech firms, three Democratic former federal officials argue in a new paper from Harvard's Shorenstein Center shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: This is the latest proposal being offered up as policymakers weigh possible methods of reining in Big Tech beyond rewriting antitrust laws or taking a gamble on enforcement action under existing ones.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.