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115th Congress     }                                {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session        }                                {         115-866

======================================================================



 
TO ALLOW SERVICEMEMBERS TO TERMINATE THEIR CABLE, SATELLITE TELEVISION, 
          AND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE CONTRACTS WHILE DEPLOYED

                                _______
                                

 July 24, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Roe of Tennessee, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2409]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2409) to allow servicemembers to terminate their 
cable, satellite television, and Internet access service 
contracts while deployed, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     3
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     3
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     4
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     4
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     4
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     5
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     5
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     5
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     6

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 2409 would amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act 
(SCRA) to allow a service member to terminate a commercial 
mobile, telephone exchange, internet access, or multichannel 
video programming service contract at any time after the date 
the service member receives military orders to relocate for at 
least 90 days to a location that does not support such service 
contract. Currently, such provision applies to a cellular 
telephone service or telephone exchange service contract. 
Representative Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania introduced H.R. 
2409 on May 11, 2017.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Section 2 of SCRA sets out that the purpose of SCRA is to 
``(1) to provide for, strengthen, and expedite the national 
defense through protection extended by this Act to 
servicemembers of the United States to enable such persons to 
devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation; 
and (2) to provide for the temporary suspension of judicial and 
administrative proceedings and transactions that may adversely 
affect the civil rights of servicemembers during their military 
service.'' In order to meet these goals section 305A of SCRA 
authorizes a servicemember to terminate their cell phone 
contract at no cost to the servicemember if they receive orders 
to relocate for a period longer than 90 days to an area that 
doesn't support the contract. The rationale for this provision 
is to allow a servicemember to devote their energy to defense 
of the country and not be burdened by a cell phone contract or 
the costs associated with cancelling a contract (most cellphone 
companies impose a fee for early termination of a cell phone 
contract). The Committee believes that the goals of this 
section are laudable and necessary but that it is in need of 
reform to include new technology (the companies of which also 
impose termination fees for breaking a contract) under these 
protections. Therefore, this bill would amend section 305A to 
include protections already afforded to servicemembers for cell 
phone contracts but to also include cable, satellite television 
and internet access contracts. The Committee believes the 
inclusion of these contracts reflect the current reality that 
most servicemembers have contracts for cable or satellite 
television and/or internet access and, if they should need to 
terminate the contact due to an ordered relocation they should 
be given the same treatment as cell phone contracts under SCRA.

                                Hearings

    On May 23, 2018, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity 
held a legislative hearing on several bills pending before the 
Subcommittee including H.R. 2409.
    The following witnesses testified:
          The Honorable Julia Brownley, U.S. House of 
        Representatives, 26th District, California; The 
        Honorable Scott Peters, U.S. House of Representatives, 
        52nd District, California; The Honorable Brad Wenstrup, 
        U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd District, Ohio; The 
        Honorable Cheri Bustos, U.S. House of Representatives, 
        17th District, Illinois; The Honorable Ryan Costello, 
        U.S. House of Representatives, 6th District, 
        Pennsylvania; Ms. Margarita Devlin, Principal Deputy 
        Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Benefits 
        Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; 
        Mr. John Kamin, Assistant Director, Veterans Employment 
        and Education Division, The American Legion; Ms. Lauren 
        Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs, 
        Student Veterans of America; and Ms. Rebecca Burgess, 
        Program Manager, Program on American Citizenship, 
        American Enterprise Institute.
    Statements for the record were submitted by:
          U.S. Department of Defense; U.S. Department of 
        Justice; Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and 
        Paralyzed Veterans of America

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    There was no Subcommittee consideration of H.R. 2409.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 12, 2018, the full Committee met in open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 2409 to be 
reported favorably to the House of Representatives by voice 
vote.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, there were no recorded votes 
taken on amendments or in connection with ordering H.R. 2409 
reported to the House. A motion by Representative Tim Walz of 
Minnesota to report H.R. 2409 favorably to the House of 
Representatives was adopted by voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are to extend protections for 
servicemembers related to cancellation of certain contracts 
under SCRA to include contracts for telephone exchange, 
internet access, or multichannel video programming service.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 2409 does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on H.R. 
2409, prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 2409 provided by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 19, 2018.
Hon. Phil Roe, M.D.,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2409, a bill to 
allow service members to terminate their cable, satellite 
television, and Internet access service contracts while 
deployed.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Logan Smith.
            Sincerely,
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2409--A bill to allow servicemembers to terminate their cable, 
        satellite television, and Internet access service contracts 
        while deployed

    Under current law, service members may terminate cellular 
and landline telephone service contracts without penalty if the 
service member receives orders to move to a location in which 
the telephone service provider does not provide service. H.R. 
2409 would add contracts for Internet and multichannel video 
programming services to the list of covered service contracts. 
The bill would require service members to return any provider-
owned equipment to the service provider within 10 days of the 
disconnection of service. CBO estimates that H.R. 2409 would 
have no effect on the federal budget.
    Enacting H.R. 2409 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2409 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    By prohibiting multichannel video programming and Internet 
providers from imposing early termination or reconnection fees, 
H.R. 2409 would impose an intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
Because some municipal governments provide Internet access, the 
bill would impose an intergovernmental mandate in addition to 
the private-sector mandate on private providers of those 
services. CBO estimates that the costs of the mandate would not 
exceed the thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental 
or private-sector mandates ($80 million and $160 million in 
2018, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Logan Smith 
(for federal costs) and Andrew Laughlin (for mandates). The 
estimate was reviewed by Leo Lex, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 2409 prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 
2409.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, H.R. 2409 is authorized by Congress' power to 
``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the 
United States.''

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that H.R. 2409 does not relate to the 
terms and conditions of employment or access to public services 
or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of 
the Congressional Accountability Act.

              Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 2409 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 2409 contains no directed 
rulemaking that would require the Secretary to prescribe 
regulations.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Terminations of multichannel video programming and internet 
        access service contracts

    Section 1(a) of the bill would amend section 305(A) of the 
SCRA by:
          (1) amending the section heading to add ``, 
        Multichannel Video Programming, and Internet Access'' 
        after ``Telephone'';
          (2) in subsection (b) striking ``cellular telephone 
        service or telephone exchange service'' and inserting 
        ``commercial mobile service, telephone exchange 
        service, internet access service, or multichannel video 
        programming service'';
          (3) in subsection (c) inserting ``for commercial 
        mobile service or telephone exchange service'' before 
        ``terminated'';
          (4) in subsection (d) in the matter preceding 
        paragraph (1), by striking ``cellular telephone 
        service'' and inserting ``commercial mobile service'';
          (5) in subsection (e) adding a new paragraph that 
        would require that if a servicemember terminates a 
        contract under this section they must return any 
        provider-owned consumer premises equipment to the 
        service provider not later than 10 days after the date 
        on which the service is disconnected.
          (6) amending subsection (g) to define ``commercial 
        mobile service'' as the meaning provided by section 
        322(d) of the communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 
        332(d)). This subsection would also define 
        ``multichannel video programming service'' as a 
        subscription service offered by a multichannel video 
        programming distributor, as defined by section 602 of 
        the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522), over a 
        system the distributor owns or controls. This 
        subsection would also define ``provider-owned consumer 
        premises equipment'' as any equipment that the provider 
        of internet access service or multichannel video 
        programming service rents or loans to a customer during 
        the provision of that service, including gateways, 
        routers, cable modems, voice-capable modems, 
        cableCARDs, converters, digital adapters, remote 
        controls, and other equipment provided.
    Section 1(b) of the bill would make several clerical 
amendments including:
          (1) changing the title heading for title III of the 
        SCRA by striking ``TELEPHONE'' and inserting 
        ``COMMUNICATIONS''
          (2) amending the table of contents to reflect the 
        changes made by this section.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                    SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the 
``Servicemembers Civil Relief Act''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is 
as follows:

     * * * * * * *

 [TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
                   LEASES, TELEPHONE SERVICE CONTRACTS

 TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
                LEASES, COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE CONTRACTS

     * * * * * * *
[Sec. 305A. Termination of telephone service contracts.]
Sec. 305A. Termination of telephone, multichannel video programming, and 
          Internet access service contracts.
     * * * * * * *

 TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
LEASES, [TELEPHONE] COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE CONTRACTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 305A. TERMINATION OF TELEPHONE, MULTICHANNEL VIDEO PROGRAMMING, 
                    AND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE CONTRACTS.

  (a) Termination by Servicemember.--
          (1) Termination.--A servicemember may terminate a 
        contract described in subsection (b) at any time after 
        the date the servicemember receives military orders to 
        relocate for a period of not less than 90 days to a 
        location that does not support the contract.
          (2) Notice.--In the case that a servicemember 
        terminates a contract as described in paragraph (1), 
        the service provider under the contract shall provide 
        such servicemember with written or electronic notice of 
        the servicemember's rights under such paragraph.
          (3) Manner of termination.--Termination of a contract 
        under paragraph (1) shall be made by delivery of a 
        written or electronic notice of such termination and a 
        copy of the servicemember's military orders to the 
        service provider, delivered in accordance with industry 
        standards for notification of terminations, together 
        with the date on which the service is to be terminated.
  (b) Covered Contracts.--A contract described in this 
subsection is a contract for [cellular telephone service or 
telephone exchange service] commercial mobile service, 
telephone exchange service, Internet access service, or 
multichannel video programming service entered into by the 
servicemember before receiving the military orders referred to 
in subsection (a)(1).
  (c) Retention of Telephone Number.--In the case of a contract 
for commercial mobile service or telephone exchange service 
terminated under subsection (a) by a servicemember whose period 
of relocation is for a period of three years or less, the 
service provider under the contract shall, notwithstanding any 
other provision of law, allow the servicemember to keep the 
telephone number the servicemember has under the contract if 
the servicemember re-subscribes to the service during the 90-
day period beginning on the last day of such period of 
relocation.
  (d) Family Plans.--In the case of a contract for [cellular 
telephone service] commercial mobile service entered into by 
any individual in which a servicemember is a designated 
beneficiary of the contract, the individual who entered into 
the contract may terminate the contract--
          (1) with respect to the servicemember if the 
        servicemember is eligible to terminate contracts 
        pursuant to subsection (a); and
          (2) with respect to all of the designated 
        beneficiaries of such contract if all such 
        beneficiaries accompany the servicemember during the 
        servicemember's period of relocation.
  (e) Other Obligations and Liabilities.--[For any]
          (1) In general._For any  contract terminated under 
        this section, the service provider under the contract 
        may not impose an early termination charge, but any tax 
        or any other obligation or liability of the 
        servicemember that, in accordance with the terms of the 
        contract, is due and unpaid or unperformed at the time 
        of termination of the contract shall be paid or 
        performed by the servicemember. [If the]
          (2) Reinstatement of service._If the  servicemember 
        re-subscribes to the service provided under a covered 
        contract during the 90-day period beginning on the last 
        day of the servicemember's period of relocation, the 
        service provider may not impose a charge for 
        reinstating service, other than the usual and customary 
        charges for the installation or acquisition of customer 
        equipment imposed on any other subscriber.
          (3) Return of provider-owned equipment.--If a 
        servicemember terminates a contract under subsection 
        (a), the servicemember shall return any provider-owned 
        consumer premises equipment to the service provider not 
        later than 10 days after the date on which service is 
        disconnected.
  (f) Return of Advance Payments.--Not later than 60 days after 
the effective date of the termination of a contract under this 
section, the service provider under the contract shall refund 
to the servicemember any fee or other amount to the extent paid 
for a period extending until after such date, except for the 
remainder of the monthly or similar billing period in which the 
termination occurs.
  (g) Definitions.--For purposes of this section:
          [(1) The term ``cellular telephone service'' means 
        commercial mobile service, as that term is defined in 
        section 332(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
        U.S.C. 332(d)).]
          (1) The term ``commercial mobile service'' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 332(d) of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 332(d)).
          (2) The term ``multichannel video programming 
        service'' means a subscription video service offered by 
        a multichannel video programming distributor, as that 
        term is defined in section 602 of the Communications 
        Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522), over a system the 
        distributor owns or controls.
          (3) The term ``provider-owned consumer premises 
        equipment'' means any equipment that a provider of 
        Internet access service or multichannel video 
        programming service rents or loans to a customer during 
        the provision of that service, including gateways, 
        routers, cable modems, voice-capable modems, 
        CableCARDs, converters, digital adapters, remote 
        controls, and any other equipment provided.
          [(2)] (4) The term ``telephone exchange service'' has 
        the meaning given that term under section 3 of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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