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Congressional E-rate Update: FCC Seeks Additional $20 Million for USF Audits

This week President Bush submitted his proposed FY 2008 budget to Congress which includes $313 million for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC’s Office of Inspector General’s Office would like to increase its auditing staff by an additional 19 employees and is asking Congress for the authority to use over $20 million from the Universal Service Fund to support its continued investigations and audit activity.

The President’s budget also seeks to eliminate Title IID, education technology block grant, from NCLB. While Congress has not supported the elimination of this program, they have reduced the funds each year. In 2004, Title IID was funded at $700 million and funding has been reduced each year with last year’s funding level at $273 million. Many school districts use these funds to pay non-discounted portion of an E-rate project.

The House recently passed a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running until a permanent FY 2008 budget is enacted. Included in the continuing resolution is a provision to exempt the Universal Service Fund from the Anti-Deficiency Act temporarily until December 31, 2007. The Senate will vote on the continuing resolution soon.

Funds For Learning will continue to monitor Congressional activity as it effects the E-rate and will keep you informed.


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