Capitol Hill

Volume 4; Issue 208

Capitol Hill

A privacy bill and an Internet tax bill could see Senate floor action this week, but neither is assured. Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-Tenn.) said Fri. on the Senate floor that 2 priorities for this week were passage of a renewed Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (S-1753), which would preempt state privacy laws but include new ID theft provisions, and S-150, a bill to make permanent the moratorium on discriminatory Internet taxes and access taxes. Both address expiring legislation — the FCRA privacy preemption expires Jan. 1, the Internet tax moratorium Sat. (Nov. 1). Senate Minority Leader Daschle (D-S.D.) said he saw “ample bipartisan interest” in moving S-1753, a bill written with input by the entire Senate Banking Committee and approved in that panel without criticism. He included it with other bills that he felt wouldn’t “generate divisive debate” but would face amendments. Democratic Cal. Sens. Feinstein and Boxer want to introduce an amendment to include a recently passed Cal.

privacy law that was much tougher on affiliate sharing. Without the amendment, the Cal. rules, signed into law but not yet put into effect, would be preempted. A similar effort by Cal. House members failed in House floor debate on a similar measure (HR-2622). Daschle told Frist that he had just spoken with S.D. Gov. Michael Rounds (R), who said a provision in S-150 would harm state efforts to tax telecom services, an argument that has stalled the bill (WID Oct 24 p1). Sen. Alexander (R-Tenn.) and several other senators have suggested they would put holds on the bill, something Frist could lift if he chose. Staffers for Frist and Daschle couldn’t say whether either measure would be considered this week, or if so when. Meanwhile, Citizens for a Sound Economy urged passage of S-150, saying that if the moratorium were to expire Nov. 1, Internet use and e-commerce could be impeded.


The role of R&D at the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) in addressing cybersecurity and other threats will be the focus of a hearing Thurs. The House Select Homeland Security Cybersecurity Subcommittee will examine DHS’s plans to identify and field new technologies. Full Committee Chmn. Cox (R-Cal.) said last week that cybersecurity would be a key issue for his panel over the coming months. DHS Asst. Secy. Penrose Albright will testify — Oct. 30, 3 p.m., Rm. 210, Cannon Bldg.