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FCC Chairman Calls on Congress to Pass Anti-Deficiency Act Exemption

Federal Communications Commission Michael K. Powell has issued a statement, calling on Congress to take action on several telecommunications issues, including exempting the Universal Service Administrative Company from coverage by the Anti-Deficiency Act.

E-rate program stakeholders hope that Congress can pass the exemption before adjourning this week to enable USAC to once again approve E-rate funding commitments before it has collected all of the funds from the telecommunications carriers. The measure would exempt USAC from the act for a period of time to give policy makers more time to work out the funding issues that have developed.

"USAC recently filed its projections of demand and total contribution base for the first quarter of 2005 for the universal service support mechanism," Powell said. "These filings demonstrate that the temporary Anti-Deficiency Act exemption is necessary to mitigate unnecessary increases to our contribution factor as well as to ensure our school children have continued access to computer resources. I hope that Congress is able to pass this legislation before adjourning."

Congress returns this week from its Thanksgiving recess, but it is unclear how long it will remain in session.

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