Broadband Provisions in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Digital Beat

Broadband Provisions in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024

On Saturday, March 23, 2024, President Joe Biden signed into law the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 2882), legislation that provides funding through September 30, 2024, for projects and activities of departments and agencies of the Federal Government. H.R. 2882 completes the appropriations process for fiscal year 2024 (FY2024). Earlier in March, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 4366). As we reported earlier, H.R. 4366 provided some direct spending on broadband. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 is much lighter on broadband; this quick synopsis is a companion to our earlier reporting. 

Of note, Congress is explicit in this law that none of the funds provided in this law shall be available through a reprogramming of funds that:

  • creates a new program;
  • eliminates a program, project, or activity;
  • increases funds or personnel for any program, project, or activity for which funds have been denied or restricted by the Congress;
  • proposes to use funds directed for a specific activity by the Committee on Appropriations of either the House of Representatives or the Senate for a different purpose;
  • augments existing programs, projects, or activities in excess of $5,000,000 or 10 percent, whichever is less;
  • reduces existing programs, projects, or activities by $5,000,000 or 10 percent, whichever is less; or
  • creates or reorganizes offices, programs, or activities unless prior approval is received from the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In fact, prior to any significant reorganization, restructuring, relocation, or closing of offices, programs, or activities, each agency funded in this law must consult with the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate. By the end of May 2024, each agency must send those committees a report to establish the baseline for application of reprogramming and transfer authorities for the current fiscal year.

FCC Budget

Congress appropriates $390,192,000 for Federal Communications Commission operations in FY2024, a figure that will be reduced by how much the agency collects in regulatory fees. Not less than $12,131,000 of these funds will be for the FCC's Office of Inspector General. In March 2022, the FCC requested $390,192,000 in budget authority from regulatory fee offsetting collections. The request represented an increase of $16,192,000 or 4.3 percent from the FY 2022 level of $374,000,000. 

H.R. 2882 rescinds $1.768 billion from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). In the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress established the ECF to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. With  $7.171 billion, ECF has covered reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers; Wi-Fi hotspots; modems; routers; and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.

None of these funds can be used by the FCC to modify, amend, or change its rules or regulations for universal service high-cost support for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers concerning the 5G Mobility Fund.

None of the funds made available may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography.

Congress includes an amendment to the Universal Service Antideficiency Temporary Suspension Act, extending it to December 31, 2024. The Antideficiency Act does not allow a federal agency or program—like the FCC's Universal Service Fund (USF) program—to make obligations in excess of available budgetary resources. In 2004, Congress passed a bill granting the Universal Service Fund a one-year exemption from the Antideficiency Act—and has extended the exemption as needed since. Absent this statutory exemption, the USF's funding commitment decision letters constitute obligations and the FCC would have to collect USF fees equaling those obligations before sending the letters.

FTC Budget

Congress appropriates $425,700,000 for Federal Trade Commission operations in FY2024, a figure that will be reduced by how much the agency collects in premerger notification filings.

Funding from this law may not be used by the FTC to complete the draft report entitled ‘‘Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts’’ unless the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children complies with Executive Order No. 13563 which aims to improve regulation and regulatory review.

Digitizing Government Services

H.R. 2882 rescinds $10 million in unobligated funds from the United States Digital Service. In the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress appropriated $200 million for the U.S. Digital Service which collaborates with public servants throughout the government to address some of the most critical needs and ultimately deliver a better government experience to people. The U.S. Digital Service works across multiple agencies and brings best practices from our various disciplines—including engineering, product, design, procurement, data science, operations, talent, and communications. 

The American Rescue Plan Act set aside $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) housed at the General Services Administration. H.R. 2882 rescinds $100 million in unobligated funds. The TMF invests in the most promising cybersecurity, data protection, interoperability, legacy system upgrades, and digital experience projects. TMF helps implement information technology (IT) solutions across the government that improve agency processes and systems, use taxpayer dollars more efficiently, and deliver simple, seamless, and secure experiences to the American public.

H.R. 2882 appropriates $29 million for the Federal Citizen Services Fund which combines public-facing services and agency-facing programs that, together, drive governmentwide digital transformation. The programs funded by the FCSF offer shared digital services across the Federal enterprise, promote the adoption of the processes and systems that foster innovation, and support Federal agencies in increasing their own capacity to drive digital transformation on behalf of the public. The Administrator of General Services, with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will supply Congress with a detailed spending plan for these funds in June 2024. The plan will include:

  • the amounts currently in the funds and the estimate of amounts to be transferred or reimbursed in fiscal year 2024;
  • a detailed breakdown of the purposes for all funds estimated to be transferred or reimbursed pursuant to this section (including the total number of personnel and costs for all staff whose salaries are provided for by this section); and
  • where applicable, a description of the funds intended for use by or for the implementation of specific laws passed by Congress.


As part of appropriations for U.S. Department of Homeland Security, H.R. 2882 provides $2.873 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is the operational lead for federal cybersecurity and the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience. The appropriation is $34.1 million below the FY23 enacted level and $183.3 million below the President’s Budget Request. Congress set aside:

  • $823.1 million for the operation and modernization of cyber defense technology and tools.
  • $819.3 million for cyber operations, including vulnerability management and threat hunting.  
  • $130.2 million for operations, testing, and improvements to emergency communications.

Kids and Media

The funding package also includes $15 million for implementation of the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act which authorized the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a research program on technology and media’s effects on infants, children, and adolescents in core areas of cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. NIH will examine the impact of exposure to and use of media and technologies such as mobile devices, computers, social media, online applications, websites, television, motion pictures, artificial intelligence, video games, and virtual and augmented reality.

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.

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Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

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