Despite protracted disagreement, in the end there emerged, almost ineluctably, agreement that universal service had been sustained by the separations and settlement arrangement of the old Bell system. Thus there emerged agreement that what was needed were replacement policies for these practices. In this context, a policy trade-off was made. Congress accepted the FCC's access charge plan once it became clear that the FCC would implement a national lifeline policy. The decision on some cross-subsidization of local rates in support of lifeline programs occurred with relative quiet. The FCC had made a strategic dodge, or perhaps a strategic genuflect, by articulating a formal acknowledgment of the superordinate role of Congress in policymaking initiatives. The states had not shown any such deference to congressional urgings and had resisted the imposition of a congressional mandate to establish state-level lifeline programs. Through its prodding, Congress succeeded in ensuring that the goal of universal service prevailed as an embodiment of the public interest in telecommunications policy. However, its operationalization as lifeline policy as established by the FCC was not a major triumph of the idea, and its actual implementation by the FCC was not conducted with great zeal. Nonetheless, the FCC persisted, effectively unabated, in its role as major policymaker in telecommunications by accretion.