What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Telecommunications Industry : This procedural vote by the Senate was on whether to table (kill) a proposed Republican amendment to S. 150 changing the tax treatment of certain Internet access services.
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This procedural vote by the Senate was on whether to table (kill) a proposed Republican amendment to S. 150 changing the tax treatment of certain Internet access services.
senate Roll Call 72     Apr 27, 2004
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

Helped by progressives, the Senate voted to table (set aside), a proposed amendment (SA 3049) offered by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), that would change the definition of Internet access service. A tabling motion effectively kills an amendment in question, by removing it from consideration. Hutchison's amendment was a second-degree amendment, meaning she offered it to another amendment (SA 3048) earlier proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz). McCain, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, offered his amendment as a substitute to an underlying bill proposed by Sen. George Allen, R-Va. Both Allen's and McCain's legislation have at their core the effort to make permanent the moratorium on taxes on Internet. While saying the underlying Allen bill, and the McCain substitute, are attempting to assure that interstate commerce is not obstructed by taxes on Internet access, Hutchison said McCain's compromise measure was not clear enough as it deals with franchise taxes and right-of-way fees that have been in place in cities in many states, and her amendment would clarify the definition of who would be exempt from this Internet access tax ban. While noting her opposition to taxation of interstate commerce, including Internet businesses, she expressed concern that the legislation at hand could be interpreted to exempt all telecommunications providers from local government taxes, including franchise fees for cable and telephone (because they provide access to the Internet), which she said would result in a potential huge loss of revenue for the city of Dallas, Texas. However, progressives argued that Hutchison's amendment, which excludes from the definition of tax on Internet access transactional taxes such as gross receipts or gross revenue fees, constitutes an end run around Internet tax freedom, and eviscerates the moratorium itself. If we allow this to exclude payments made for use of the public right-of-way, including access line fees, franchise fees, this amendment should be rejected." A tabling motion offered by McCain was agreed to 64-32. The McCain substitute was approved by unanimous consent, and the underlying Allen bill passed the Senate 93-3.

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