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Bill Introduced in House to Exempt E-rate from Anti-Deficiency Act

A bill has been introduced in the House that, like a companion bill in the Senate, would permanently exempt the universal service programs from compliance with the Anti-Deficiency Act.

Late last year, Congress exempted the Universal Service Administrative Company from compliance with the law until the end of 2005. An earlier effort by the Federal Communications Commission to bring USAC into compliance with the law had forced the Schools and Libraries Division to suspend issuing new E-rate funding commitments for several months in 2004.

Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) introduced a bill (HR 2533) on May 23 similar to a measure that has already been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). In a statement on the House floor, Cubin said, "This is a bipartisan initiative that enjoys support from a broad coalition of stakeholders in the telecommunications, high-tech, and educational arenas, as well as local governments and public interest organizations…"

Snowe's Senate bill currently has 37 co-sponsors.

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