The House and Senate both passed the appropriations bill that funds the Federal Communications Commission (Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Bill) and included an amendment that continues to exempt universal service from the Anti-Deficiency Act. This clears the way for President Bush to sign the legislation which exempts the E-rate from the ADA for another year and expires December 31, 2006.
The education community would have preferred to see a permaent exemption, however this temporary fix was necessary in order for E-rate committments to continue to flow this year. Last fall the FCC directed USAC to convert its accounting standards by October 1. Under those rules, USAC was required to start treating approved commitments as obligations, rather than when an invoice was presented for payment. Under the new accounting rules, USAC must actually have the money in hand before it can issue a commitment.
There is a strong coalition of education and industry groups that will continue to push for a permanent exemption to the ADA. Congress will adjourn soon for the holidays and invite them to your school or library and show show them how you are using technology to further your educational goals. Thank them for their continued support for this program
The following letter demonstrates the wide range of education, library and industry groups that supported this effort.ADA Exemption Coalition.pdf