Rep. Debbie Lesko

Rep. Debbie Lesko

Lesko introduces legislation to expediate broadband expansion

U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) introduced the Connecting and Building Lines for Expedited (CABLE) Expansion Act to institute clear approval process deadlines for franchise authorities for broadband projects. This legislation will expedite critical processes to remove roadblocks to rapid broadband expansion.

“As we work to rapidly expand broadband access for Americans across the country, we must remove the barriers to expansion, like approval delays,” Lesko said. 

“It is my hope that this legislation, along with related legislation introduced by my colleagues, will help accelerate broadband expansion so we can meet the connectivity needs of families across the United States.”

This bill streamlines the permitting process for cable operators that apply to a franchise authority to deploy new or collocated facilities for cable service. The bill preserves local authority over siting facilities for cable service while establishing a “responsibility to respond” on franchising authorities and placing reasonable limits on aspects of such reviews, such as establishing criteria for denial and ensuring nondiscriminatory review requirements. Additionally, the bill establishes a timeline within which an application would be required to be approved or denied. If a request is not approved or denied with reason within the established timeframes, the request would automatically be deemed granted.

This legislation is part of a comprehensive package of 28 bills released by Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that aim to turbocharge public and private investment by promoting new and upgraded infrastructure deployments, boosting competition, streamlining permitting processes, facilitating broadband deployment on federal lands, and closing the digital divide in rural and urban areas.

Small-business relief funds

from abortion providers

Lesko led a letter to acting Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Tami Perriello asking that future Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans be withheld from Planned Parenthood and requesting an update on the SBA’s attempt to regain funds from previous PPP loans that were granted to Planned Parenthood erroneously. 

Lesko was joined in leading the letter by Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19), Mike Johnson (R-LA-04) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-3).

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help small businesses in need and support their workers, not to prop up well-funded organizations like Planned Parenthood and their affiliates,” Lesko said. 

“The SBA has very clear rules on affiliation and business size when it comes to distributing PPP funds. When Planned Parenthood affiliates received PPP funds, those rules were broken. These funds need to be returned to SBA so that the money can go to real businesses in need and their workers. Additionally, the SBA must ensure that PPP funds are not doled out erroneously in the future.”

Lesko, Arrington, Johnson and Luetkemeyer were joined by Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04), Rick Allen (R-GA-12), Brian Babin (R-TX-36), Jim Banks (R-IN-03), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Dan Bishop (R-NC-09), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03), Neal P. Dunn (R-FL-02), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN-08), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), Sam Graves (R-MO-06), Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), Andy Harris (R-MD-01), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04), Kevin Hern (R-OK-01), Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02), Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13), Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), John Joyce (R-PA-13), Mike Kelly (R-PA-16), Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05), Robert Latta (R-OH-05), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11), Dan Meuser (R-PA-09), Alex Mooney (R-WV-02), Greg Murphy (R-NC-03), Ralph Norman (R-SC-05), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14), Mike Rogers (R-AL-03), John Rose (R-TN-06), John H. Rutherford (R-FL-04), Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ-04), Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24), Randy Weber (R-TX-14) and Roger Williams (R-TX-25) in sending this letter.


Lesko offers amendment to

Democrat relief package

Lesko offered an amendment in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce markup on Democrats’ COVID-19 relief package. The amendment protects life and supports youth suicide prevention.

“Many across our nation are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lesko said. 

“As we consider additional relief, we must ensure that we provide relief to Americans directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially school-age children who have become collateral damage due to school closures across the country. This amendment would redirect funds currently allocated for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and instead direct the funds to programs that address youth suicide prevention. This amendment prioritizes life and the lives of young Americans.”

The Democrats’ proposed package provided $50 million for Title X family planning grants. The money in the Democrats’ proposal could be used to subsidize groups like Planned Parenthood who provide abortions. The amendment redirects these funds to youth suicide prevention. 

The amendment failed in a 31-26 vote with all Democrats on the committee opposing the measure.


Lesko reintroduces bill to address Chinese intellectual property theft

Lesko reintroduced her Stop China’s IP Theft Act to ban visas into the United States for Chinese government officials, active-duty members of the Chinese military, and senior members of the Chinese Community Party and their family members. Lesko also introduced this legislation in the 116th Congress.

“We cannot continue to tolerate China’s attempts to steal our intellectual property,” Lesko said. 

“I am proud to reintroduce this important piece of legislation to prevent certain Chinese Communist Party officials and their families from entering our country until China stops its widespread efforts to steal American intellectual property. This legislation is critical in safeguarding our intellectual property and combating the global threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The bill prohibits the issuance of visas to senior officials in the Chinese Communist Party, including the Politburo, the Central Committee, and each delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the spouses and children of these senior officials, members of the cabinet of the government of the People’s Republic of China, and active-duty members of the People’s Liberation Army of China until the U.S. director of national intelligence certifies to the committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate that the government of the People’s Republic of China has ceased sponsoring, funding, facilitating and actively working to support efforts to infringe on the intellectual property rights of citizens and companies of the United States.

Lesko was joined by Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), Mo Brooks (R-AL-05), Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01), Scott Perry (R-PA-04), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), Tom Tiffany (R-WI-07) and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-02) in introducing this legislation.