To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for explicit and stable funding for Federal support of universal telecommunications services through the creation of a Telecommunications Trust Fund.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 11, 1999
Mr. KLINK (for himself, Mr. DICKEY, Mr. HOLDEN, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. GREEN of Texas, and Mr. ENGLISH) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the 'Telecommunications Trust Act'.
SEC. 2. PURPOSE.
It is the purpose of this Act to prevent the imposition of additional telephone charges to support the provision of universal telecommunications services by dedicating to such support the revenues of telephone excise taxes already in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 3. PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICES FROM APPROPRIATIONS OF EXCISE TAXES.
(a) AMENDMENT- Section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(l) PROVISION OF UNIVERSAL SERVICES FROM APPROPRIATIONS OF EXCISE TAXES-
`(1) TERMINATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS; EXCLUSIVE SOURCE OF FUNDS- The contributions of providers of interstate telecommunications services pursuant to subsections (b)(4) and (d) shall cease to be required for any period beginning on or after the date on which funds appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection are first available for Federal universal service support. The Commission may continue to distribute any balances of such contributions that remain unallocated on such date, but, other than such balances, the funds appropriated under paragraph (2) shall constitute the exclusive source of funds for the provision of any type of Federal universal service support, including rural, high-cost, lifeline, programs under subsection (h), or any other program of Federal universal service support.
`(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 1999 and each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years, from the Telecommunications Trust Fund established by section 9511 of the Internal Revenue Code, such sums as may be necessary to provide Federal universal service support pursuant to this section, including support pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.
`(3) AVAILABILITY ON SCHOOL YEAR BASIS- Appropriations for any fiscal year that are available to carry out subsection (h) may, in accordance with regulations of the Commission, be made available for obligation by the recipient on the basis of an academic or school year differing from such fiscal year. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, unless enacted in specific limitation of the provisions of this subsection, any funds from such appropriations during any fiscal year which are not obligated and expended prior to the beginning of the fiscal year succeeding the fiscal year for which such funds were appropriated shall remain available for obligation and expenditure during such succeeding fiscal year.
`(4) APPORTIONMENT OF FUNDS- Funds from any such appropriation shall be apportioned in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commission to carry out the purposes of this section.'.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 254(d) of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following: `This subsection and subsection (b)(4) shall cease to be effective on the date described in subsection (l)(1).'.
SEC. 4. ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS TRUST FUND.
(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 98 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after section 9510 the following:
`SEC. 9511. TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRUST FUND.
`(a) CREATION OF TRUST FUND- There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the `Telecommunications Trust Fund', consisting of such amounts as may be appropriated or credited pursuant to this section or section 9602(b).
`(b) TRANSFER TO ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRUST FUND AMOUNTS EQUIVALENT TO CERTAIN TAXES- There are hereby appropriated to the Telecommunications Trust Fund amounts equivalent to 100 percent of the taxes received in the Treasury after December 31, 1998, under section 4251 (relating to tax on communications).
`(c) EXPENDITURES FROM ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS TRUST FUND- Amounts in the Telecommunications Trust Fund shall be available, as provided in appropriations Acts, only to provide for Federal universal service support mechanisms pursuant to section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934.'.
SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATES; TRANSITION.
(a) EFFECTIVE DATES-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), this Act and the amendments made by this Act shall be effective on July 1, 1999.
(2) EXCEPTIONS- Notwithstanding paragraph (1)--
(A) the authorization of appropriations in section 254(l)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by section 3 of this Act, is effective upon enactment; and
(B) the Federal Communications Commission may prescribe such regulations or take such other action as is necessary to the implementation of the amendments made by this Act at any time after such date of enactment.
(b) TRANSITION- In order to effect a transition to the provision of telecommunications services in accordance with the amendments made by this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall prescribe such regulations and take such other actions as may be necessary to provide for the allocation or refund of unused universal service contributions and obligations.