CSG DC

The smartphone has become an American staple in recent years. Need to know the time? The once required wristwatch has been replaced by the smartphone. Drawing a sudden blank on someone’s name or new job post? A quick check of a social media app can save one from embarrassment at a moment’s notice. More importantly, wireless phones are proving to be a critical tool in expanding access to high-speed Internet service to Americans in rural communities. But the expanded reach of smartphones and other wireless devices into millions of hands across the country has met a significant challenge. The U.S. is facing a wireless spectrum shortage.

Winter Storm Jonas swept through Washington, D.C., last week leaving behind icy roads and a quiet city. Due to the storm, which left 250,000 people without power and may end up costing the U.S. economy more than $1 billion according to several media reports, major legislative action was stalled on Capitol Hill.  The House of Representatives cancelled all legislative activity last week, and the Senate returned on Wednesday to continue debate on a bipartisan energy reform bill.   

On Jan. 12, President Obama delivered his last State of the Union address. Expressing a hopeful tone, the president urged Americans and those in Congress to tone down the growing rancor and suspicion between Republicans and Democrats in order to strive for a brighter future

Federal lawmakers are nearing the end of the year with many outstanding issues left on the congressional wish list. Priority centers around a spending bill to fund the federal government past mid-December. Other important issues being discussed include reforms to and reauthorizations of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Highway Trust Fund, Export-Import Bank and special tax credits and tax breaks, known as tax extenders, for certain groups and individuals.

In late October, outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio announced his intention to “clean the barn” as much as possible before his successor took the gavel. In keeping his promise, Boehner succeeded in brokering a bipartisan, two-year budget deal to avoid a government shutdown and prevent a government default on its debt. To offset the increased spending caps for defense and discretionary programs, the budget deal included cost-saving provisions for certain programs, some of which—including the following—will have an impact on state governments.

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