FCC to vote on funding for E-Rate

Members of the Federal Communications Commission tomorrow will vote on next year's funding levels for the E-Rate program. The program is designed to help wire America's schools and libraries for communications and is funded through federal subsidies.

Hobbled last year by political in-fighting, E-Rate this year was funded at $1.7 billion, but FCC Commissioner William Kennard has signaled that he wants that number boosted to $2 billion.

At a press conference yesterday, several Democrats expressed support for the program, demanding the FCC and Congress "live up to [their] commitment on E-Rate."

Led by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), E-Rate supporters claimed that House Republicans reneged on their support for the program. "Now because of presidential politics, they are holding wiring our schools and libraries hostage by trying to label this program a Gore tax."

Representatives Cal Dooley (D-Calif.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Albert Wynn (D-Md.) also voiced support for the program at the rally.

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