The Senate Commerce Committee is set to advance Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) Spectrum and National Security Act (SNNA), potentially with Republican support, on Tuesday. While the bill has some national security provisions, its primary purpose is to extend “Spectrum Auctions” along with DEI giveaways disguised as “infrastructure.” The importance of stopping this bill goes beyond simply putting the breaks on yet another corporate giveaway and Biden regime DEI grift; an especially troubling part of the bill is that it sets a fixed policy on spectrum auctions for the next five years, effectively handcuffing future President Trump from using this critical piece of multi-billion dollar leverage as he sees fit.

What is a “spectrum auction” to begin with? The term spectrum in this context simply refers to zones or “bands” of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be used for telecommunications purposes. Radio waves, for instance, are zones of the electromagnetic spectrum that are used for what we conventionally consider AM and FM radio. The government has adopted the practice of auctioning off bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to private sector telecom companies as a way of efficiently allocating spectrum resources, which are worth tens of billions of dollars. The Spectrum and National Security Act in question ties the re-authorization of this auction authority to granting over $7 billion to the “Affordable Connectivity Program,” a federal government giveaway from Biden’s infrastructure bill that allegedly subsidizes internet access for “underserved communities.” Comcast (the parent company of MSNBC) is one of the biggest recipients of such ACP grants and is lobbying aggressively for its extension under the SNNA.

Incidentally, Joe Biden’s first fundraiser was held in a Comcast lobbyist’s living room, and the wife of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was one of Biden’s biggest donors. Biden went on to include over $60 billion in broadband subsidies in his “infrastructure” bill, though almost none of it led to new broadband. Instead, these funds have been used to impose disparate impact mandates in broadband deployment under the FCC’s “Digital Discrimination” initiative, as well as create an Equity and Diversity Council at the FCC.

The disparate impact doctrine opens up employers, small business owners, and others to legal liability if any policy results in a differential outcome among radical groups, even in the absence of discriminatory intent. A classic example would be an intelligence or aptitude test to screen potential employees. If such a test ended up with fewer blacks being hired, the employer using those tests could be legally liable under the disparate impact doctrine. As we put it in our classic piece on affirmative action, “disparate impact makes almost everything presumptively illegal, because everything has a disparate impact. This in effect gives near-absolute power to government bureaucrats and federal judges.” Fear of a disparate impact lawsuit has pushed companies and institutions to create vast HR and diversity bureaucracies. The FCC’s Digital Discrimination Initiative simply recapitulates all of these disadvantages in the telecommunications economy, with predictable results.

It is no wonder then that such programs have become the crown jewels of woke capital. As the management consulting firm McKinsey noted, the Affordable Connectivity Program’s (ACP) purpose is not to build new broadband infrastructure because the “majority of Black households directly impacted by the digital divide live in areas with available infrastructure but simply can’t afford broadband service.”

Newly sprouted groups with ominous names like the “Alliance for Digital Equality,” the “Digital Equity Institute,” and the “National Digital Equity Center,” along with the usual suspects at the ACLU, NAACP, and Soros-linked Color of Change, have been lobbying to extend ACP.

The FCC Diversity and Equity Council has lobbied heavily to pressure states that use ACP funds to fund groups, which would go to “hiring and retention among underrepresented groups,” including “the limited English-proficient LGBTQ+” community (and who could forget them!). Speaking of limited English communities, it is worth noting that because ACP does not require social security numbers or even the last four digits of a social security number, nothing prevents “non-qualified aliens—who are generally not eligible to receive certain federal public benefits—from enrolling in the program,” as FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington pointed out. Senator Ted Cruz has tried to reinstate this requirement, but it is not part of Cantwell’s bill that is up for a vote this Tuesday.

Even some populist Republicans, such as JD Vance and Josh Hawley, have called for extending this dubious ACP program. Senator Vance asked, “If we can afford military conflicts the world over, can’t we afford to provide basic connectivity and services for our own people?” This is a fair point in principle, and if that is really how the program was implemented, there would be no objection. Vance is aware of the problems we have listed with the ACP and has made it clear that he wants reforms implemented before approving anything.

Vance has even introduced legislation that extends ACP but has not received support from the Democratic leadership in the Senate, who want to ensure the extension does not allow for future reforms. We at Revolver are big fans of Vance and have even made the case for why Trump should choose him as VP. One of the many important insights Vance has had was attacking a foreign aid assistance bill that would have the effect of tying Trump’s hands should he enter the White House in 2024 and make it impossible for him to use foreign funding or lack thereof as leverage in possible negotiations with Russia. Applying the same basic logic, one can see all sorts of ways that it would disadvantage Trump by tying his hands with the passage of the Spectrum and National Security Act.

Indeed, it is critical to note that Cantwell’s bill would prevent Trump from auctioning off spectrum and using the proceeds under his own rules. The five-year extension of the ACP and auctions will conveniently end in 2029, hopefully at the end of Trump’s second term. While there are many constitutional questions about funding programs through auctions and borrowing rather than appropriations, the courts have permitted it, and they now serve as a more flexible source of funding for the President. Extending these two programs together for five years will make it harder for Trump to remove the DEI mandates from ACP and prevent his FCC from having money to pursue America First initiatives. At most, it will offer a short-term extension so Trump can enact his policies in 2025.

Let’s hope Republicans do the right thing and block this Biden corporate DEI giveaway come Tuesday. We will keep an eye on this developing story.