Summary of Bills Regarding the
Schools and Libraries Program
(aka "E-rate" and "Gore Tax")

in the 105th Congress

There are several Schools and Libraries Program summaries in the Tech Law Journal web site.  This page summarizes legislation introduced in the 105th Congress to reform or terminate the program.  There is also a Summary of Bills in the 106th Congress. Another page summarizes the relevant statute and regulations, FCC implementation, FCC and SLC personnel, and the public debate over the program.  See, Implementation of the Schools and Libraries Program.

This page tracks three bills:

Several other bills are also relevant:

Schools and Libraries Internet Access Act.

•  HR 4324, introduced 7/23/98 by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA).  Principal co-sponsors are Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO).   The other initial sponsors are Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), Goss (R-FL), Ron Lewis (R-KY), James Rogan (R-CA), Shimkus (R-IL), Nick Smith (R-MI), John Sununu (R-NH), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY).
•  S 2348, introduced 7/23/98 by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT).  Co-sponsor: Sen. Al D'Amato (R-NY).

Summary.  These identical bills would reform the current program providing subsidies to schools, libraries and rural hospitals out of universal service taxes, also known as the "e-rate" and "Gore Tax".  They would continue financial support for Internet access, but change the process by which the subsidies are made.  The administration of the program would be transferred from the Federal Communications Commission and its Schools and Libraries Corporation to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce.   Universal service funding under Section 254 of the Telecom Act would be terminated; instead the program would be funded at $1.7 Billion per year out of the existing excise tax on phones.  Also, money would be distributed in the form of block grants to the states.

Status.  Both bills were introduced on July 23, 1998.  Both bills have to clear both the Commerce and tax committees.  Rep. Tauzin described the prospects for passage in the House at a 7/23 press conference: "we have had extensive discussions with the leadership here in the House over this bill, with Chairman Bliley, with Speaker Gingrich, with Chairman Archer, and with other Chairmen, such as Education Chairman Bill Goodling and Hal Rogers and others from the Appropriations Committee.  And there is a growing, at least, consensus that something like this needs to be done.  Chairman Bliley indicates that he would like to see action on the Gore Tax sometime in September, when we get back from the August break.  And so, there is a strong likelihood that before we leave session in October, we will see some action."

These bills did not pass either the House or Senate.

Legislative History with Links to Related Materials.

HR 4065 (Scarborough Bill).

HR 4065.  House bill introduced by Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL) on June 16 to end universal service funding for the e-rate.

This bill not pass the House.

HR 4032 (Sensenbrenner Bill).

HR 4032.  House bill introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on June 10, 1998, to delete several subsections of Section 254.

This bill did not pass the House.

Other Resources