|S 1264 IS, the "FCC
Reauthorization Act of 2003".
Sponsor: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Date Introduced: June 13, 2003.
Source: Congressional Record, June 13, 2003, at pages S7882-4.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; AMENDMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934.
(a) SHORT TITLE.--This Act may be cited as the ``FCC Reauthorization Act of 2003''.
(b) AMENDMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS ACT.--Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision of law, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.).
SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) IN GENERAL.--Section 6 (47 U.S.C. 156) is amended--
(1) by striking subsections (a), (b), and (c);
(2) by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (c);
(3) by inserting ``REGULATORY FEES OFFSET.--'' before ``Of'' in subsection (c), as redesignated; and
(3) by inserting before subsection (c), as redesignated, the following:
``(a) IN GENERAL.--There are authorized to be appropriated for the administration of this Act by the Commission $281,289,000 for fiscal year 2004, $299,500,000 for fiscal year 2005, $318,982,000 for fiscal year 2006, and $334,931,000 for fiscal year 2007, to carry out this Act including amounts necessary for unreimbursed travel, together with such sums as may be necessary for increases resulting from adjustments in salary, pay, retirement, other employee benefits required by law, and other nondiscretionary costs, for each of such years.
``(b) STAFFING LEVELS.--The Commission may hire and maintain an adequate number of full time equivalent staff, to the extent of the amounts authorized by subsection (a), necessary to carry out the Commission's powers and duties under this Act.''.
(b) DEPOSIT OF APPLICATION FEES.--Section 8(e) is amended to read as follows:
``(e) DEPOSIT OF COLLECTIONS.--Moneys received from fees established under this section shall be deposited as an offsetting collection in, and credited to, the account providing appropriations to carry out the functions of the Commission.''.
SEC. 3. AUDITS AND INVESTIGATIONS OF E-RATE BENEFICIARY COMPLIANCE WITH PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS.
(a) IN GENERAL.--The Federal Communications Commission shall conduct an investigation into the implementation, utilization, and Commission oversight of activities authorized by section 254(h) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(h)) and the operations of the National Education Technology Funding Corporation established by section 708 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2007, with a particular emphasis on determining the specific fraud or abuse of Federal funds that has occurred in connection with such activities or operations.
(b) REPORTS.--The Commission shall transmit a report, setting forth its finding, conclusions, and recommendations, of the results of its investigation for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2007 to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
(c) FUNDING.--Of the amounts authorized by section 6(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 156(a)), the Commission shall allocate such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2004 through 2007 to be used for audits and investigations of compliance by beneficiaries with the rules and regulations of the Universal Service Fund program under section 254(h), commonly known as the ``e-rate program''.
SEC. 4. CLARIFICATION OF CONGRESSIONAL INTENT WITH RESPECT TO BIENNIAL REVIEW MODIFICATIONS; FREQUENCY OF REVIEW.
(a) COMMISSION REVIEW OF OWNERSHIP RULES.--Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is amended to read as follows:
``(h) FURTHER COMMISSION REVIEW.--
``(1) IN GENERAL.--The Commission shall review its rules adopted pursuant to this section, and all of its ownership rules quinquennially (beginning with 2007), and shall determine whether--
``(A) any rule requires strengthening or broadening;
``(B) any rule requires limiting or narrowing;
``(C) any rule should be repealed; or
``(D) any rule should be retained.
``(2) CHANGE, REPEAL, OR RETAIN.--The Commission shall change, repeal, or retain such rules pursuant to its review under paragraph (1) as it determines to be in the public interest.''.
(b) OTHER REGULATORY REFORM REVIEWS.--Section 11 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 161) is amended by adding at the end the following:
``(c) OWNERSHIP RULES.--Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply to ownership rules reviewable under section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.''.
SEC. 5. FCC ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENTS.
(a) FORFEITURES IN CASES OF REBATES AND OFFSETS.--
(1) BROADCAST AND MULTICHANNEL VIDEO PROVIDERS.--Section 503(b)(2)(A) (47 U.S.C. 503(b)(2)(A)) is amended--
(A) by striking ``operator, or'' in clause (i) and inserting ``operator or any other multichannel video distributor, or'';
(B) by striking ``$25,000'' and inserting ``$250,000''; and
(C) by striking ``$250,000'' and inserting ``$2,500,000''.
(2) COMMON CARRIERS.--Section 503(b)(2)(B) (47 U.S.C. 503(b)(2)(B)) is amended--
(A) by striking ``$100,000'' and inserting ``$1,000,000''; and
(B) by striking ``$1,000,000'' and inserting ``$10,000,000''.
(3) OTHERS.--Section 503(b)(2)(C) (47 U.S.C. 503(b)(2)(C)) is amended--
(A) by striking ``$10,000'' and inserting ``$100,000''; and
(B) by striking ``$75,000'' and inserting ``$750,000''.
(4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.--Section 503(b)(6) (47 U.S.C. 503(b)(6)) is amended--
(A) by striking ``1 year'' in subparagraph (A)(i) and inserting ``2 years'';
(B) by striking ``1 year'' in subparagraph (B) and inserting ``2 years''.
(b) FORFEITURES OF COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES.--Section 510 (47 U.S.C. 510) is amended by inserting ``and any equipment used to create malicious interference in violation of section 333,'' after ``302,''.
(c) LIABILITY OF CARRIERS FOR DAMAGES.--Section 206 (47 U.S.C. 206) is amended to read as follows:
``SEC. 206. LIABILITY OF CARRIERS FOR DAMAGES.
``A common carrier that does, or causes or permits to be done, any act, matter, or thing prohibited or declared to be unlawful in this Act, or in any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission, or that fails to do any act, matter, or thing required to be done by this Act, or by any rule, regulation, or order of the Commission is liable to any person injured by such act or failure for the full amount of damages sustained in consequence of such act or failure, together with a reasonable attorney's fee. The amount of the attorney's fee shall be--
``(1) fixed by the court in every case of recovery in a judicial proceeding; or
``(2) fixed by the Commission in every case of recovery in a Commission proceeding.''.
(d) VIOLATIONS OF REGULATIONS, RULES, AND ORDERS.--Section 208 (47 U.S.C. 208) is amended by inserting ``or of any rule, regulation, or order of the Commission,'' after ``thereof,''.
SEC. 6. APPLICATION OF COMMUNICATIONS ACT WITH BANKRUPTCY AND SIMILAR LAWS.
Section 4 (47 U.S.C. 154) is amended by adding at the end the following:
``(p) APPLICATION WITH BANKRUPTCY LAWS.--
``(1) IN GENERAL.--The bankruptcy laws shall not be applied--
``(A) to avoid, discharge, stay, or set-off any pre-petition debt obligation to the United States arising from an auction under this Act,
``(B) to stay the payment obligations of the debtor to the United States if such payments were a condition of the grant or retention of a license under this Act, or
``(C) to prevent the automatic cancellation of licenses for failure to comply with any monetary or non-monetary condition for holding any license issued by the Commission, including automatic cancellation of licenses for failure to pay a monetary obligation of the debtor to the United States when due under an installment payment plan arising from an auction under this Act, except that, upon cancellation of a license issued by the Commission, the United States shall have an allowed unsecured claim for any outstanding debt to the United States with respect to such canceled licenses, and that unsecured debt may be recovered by the United States under its rights as a creditor under title 11, United States Code, or other applicable law.
``(2) DEBTOR TO HAVE NO INTEREST IN PROCEEDS OF AUCTION.--A debtor in a proceeding under the bankruptcy laws shall have no right or interest in any portion of the proceeds from an auction of any license reclaimed by the Commission for failure to pay a monetary obligation of the debtor to the United States in connection with the grant or retention of a license under this Act.
``(3) SECURITY INTERESTS.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commission may--
``(A) establish rules and procedures governing security interests in licenses, or the proceeds of the sale of licenses, issued by the Commission; and
``(B) establish an office within the Office of Secretary for the recording and perfection of such security interests without regard to otherwise applicable State law.
``(4) BANKRUPTCY LAWS DEFINED.--In this subsection, the term `bankruptcy laws' means title 11, United States Code, or any otherwise applicable Federal or State law regarding insolvencies or receiverships, including any Federal law enacted or amended after the date of enactment of the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2003 not expressly in derogation of this subsection.''.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to cases and proceedings commenced on or after the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 7. BAN ON REIMBURSED TRAVEL EXPENSES.
Section 4(g)(2) (47 U.S.C. 154(g)(2)) is amended to read as follows:
``(2) Notwithstanding section 1353 of title 31, United States Code, section 4111 of title 5, United States Code, or any other provision of law in pari materia, no Commissioner or employee of the Commission may accept, nor may the Commission accept, payment or reimbursement from the nongovernmental sponsor (or any affiliated organization) of any convention, conference, or meeting for expenses for travel, subsistence, or related expenses incurred by a commissioner or employee of the Commission for the purpose of enabling that commissioner or employee to attend and participate in any such convention, conference, or meeting. The Commission may establish a de minimus level of payment or value to which the preceding sentence does not apply.''.
SEC. 8. APPLICATION OF ONE-YEAR RESTRICTIONS TO CERTAIN POSITIONS.
For purposes of section 207 of title 18, United States Code, an individual serving in any of the following positions at the Federal Communications Commission is deemed to be a person described in section 207(c)(2)(A)(ii) of that title, regardless of the individual's rate of basic pay:
(1) Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology.
(2) Director, Office of Legislative Affairs.
(3) Inspector General, Office of Inspector General.
(4) Managing Director, Office of Managing Director.
(5) General Counsel, Office of General Counsel.
(6) Chief, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.
(7) Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
(8) Chief, Enforcement Bureau.
(9) Chief, International Bureau.
(10) Chief, Media Bureau.
(11) Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau.
(12) Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
SEC. 9. VIDEO DESCRIPTION RULES AUTHORITY.
Notwithstanding the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., et al, v. Federal Communications Commission, et al (309 F. 3d 796, November 8, 2002), the Federal Communications Commission--
(1) shall, within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, reinstate its video description rules contained in the report and order identified as Implementation of Video Description of Video Programming, Report and Order, 15 F.C.C.R. 15,230 (2000); and
(2) may amend, repeal, or otherwise modify such rules.