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May 15, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer co-led a bipartisan letter garnering the support of 130 House of Representatives colleagues sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today addressing long-term funding challenges to the Universal Service Fund (USF). The FCC collects subsidies and fees from telecommunications companies to fund the USF, which promotes universal access to telecommunications services in the United States, including high-speed broadband in rural America.          

The letter was addressed to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, and was co-led by Congressman Collin Peterson, (D-MN). In the letter, they thanked the FCC for its order issued in March providing additional support to the USF High Cost program. This program supports broadband providers operating in the most rural areas of the nation to continue investing in broadband infrastructure and help eliminate the digital divide.       

The March FCC order injected more than $500 million into USF High Cost Program. However, it does not make the USF High Cost program budget sustainable over the long-term. The letter urges the FCC to take further action as soon as possible to address the remaining gaps in support.

Last year, Cramer led a letter with 101 House Members requesting sufficient resources to be made available to the USF High Cost Program in order to ensure support for broadband deployment in remote and underserved areas.    

“Access to high-speed internet supports families and small businesses across rural America every day,” said Cramer. “The USF plays an important role for rural telecom providers in places like North Dakota. My letter, supported by 130 House Members, shows the strong support Congress maintains for improving broadband.”    

Cramer serves on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission. He is also a founding co-chair of the House Rural Broadband Caucus, a group launched in 2016 to facilitate discussion by Members of Congress and their staff on policy issues to address the digital divide that exists in rural America.  

Letter signers include: Kevin Cramer, Collin Peterson, Luke Messer, Scott Desjarlais, Doug Lamborn, Peter Welch, Steve Pearce, Vicente Gonzalez, David Young, John Garamendi,  Doug LaMalfa, Mo Brooks, Tom O’Halleran,  Steve King, Kristi Noem, Jared Polis, Cheri Bustos,  Ed Perlmutter, James Comer, Mike Coffman, Peter DeFazio, Lynn Jenkins, Sean Duffy, Austin Scott, Jackie Walorski, Steve Stivers, Chris Stewart, Kurt Schrader, David B McKinley, P.E., Todd Rokita, Frank Lucas, Mike Bost, David G. Valadao, Glenn Grothman, Hal Rogers, Rick Nolan,  Rick Allen, Elise Stefanik, Rick Crawford, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Mark Pocan,  Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., James Sensenbrenner, John J. Faso, Rod Blum, Jack Bergman, Andy Barr, Ted Budd, Rob Bishop, Jim Costa, Susan W. Brooks, Brett Guthrie, Mike Gallagher, Ann McLane Kuster, Alex X. Mooney, Tim Ryan, Diana DeGette, Ron Estes, Diane Black, Ryan Costello, Gregg Harper, Roger Marshall, Larry Bucshon, Tim Walz, Evan Jenkins, Chuck Fleischmann, Sean Patrick Maloney, Kyrsten Sinema, Adam Kinzinger, Brian Mast, Dave Loebsack, Steve Russell, Virginia Foxx, Bill Johnson, Robert E. Latta, Greg Gianforte, Liz Cheney, Billy Long, Carol Shea-Porter, Kevin Yoder, Scott Tipton, Markwayne Mullin, Tom Cole, Seth Moulton, Bruce Westerman, Rodney Davis, Mike Simpson, Ralph Abraham, Mark Meadows, John Shimkus, Blaine Luetkemeyer, John Ratcliffe, Mac Thornberry, Ken Buck, Ron Kind, Paul Cook, Darin Lahood, Vicky Hartzler, H. Morgan Griffith, Sam Graves, Brad Wenstrup, Steven Palazzo, James P. McGovern, K. Michael Conaway, Clay Higgins, A. Donald McEachin, Mark Sanford, Erik Paulsen, Chris Collins, Pete Olson, David Rouzer, Paul Mitchell, Mia Love, Raul Ruiz, Tom Emmer, John Curtis, Nydia M. Velázquez, Doris Matsui, Martha Roby, Trent Kelly, French Hill, Tim Walberg, Tom Rice, Randy Weber, Mike Johnson, Bruce Poliquin, Alma Adams,  Ann Wagner, Jared Huffman, Al Lawson.