Posted on April 27, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced today that he is an original cosponsor of S. 2653, the Call Home Act of 2006. The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in coordination with the Department of Defense and the Department of State, to seek to reduce phone rates for Armed Forces personnel deployed overseas. “Our military men and women serving overseas make great sacrifices to protect our freedom. It is our responsibility to support them and their families here at home, and the Call Home Act is a practical way to do that,” said Alexander. “We all know how important it is for our troops to keep in touch with their loved ones, and this bill will look for ways to make it less expensive for them to do just that.” The legislation would authorize the FCC to take actions necessary to reduce phone bills for troops deployed overseas, including the waiver of government fees, assessments, or other charges. However, the Call Home Act would not allow the FCC to engage in rate regulation. In seeking to reduce such telephone rates, the legislation directs the FCC to evaluate and analyze the costs of calls to and from official duty stations; evaluate methods of reducing rates including the deployment of new technology such as Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP); encourage phone companies to adopt flexible billing for troops and their dependents; and seek agreements with foreign governments to reduce international surcharges on phone calls. The Call Home Act of 2006, sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI), would update legislation from 1992 which directed the FCC to seek to reduce phone bills to troops in specific countries. This legislation ensures that the FCC’s efforts benefit our troops wherever they may be deployed overseas. The bill has the support of the following groups: the American Legion, Air Force Association, Air Force Sergeants Association, Air Force Women Officers Associated, American Logistics Association, AMVETS (American Veterans), Army Aviation Association of America, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Association of the United States Army, Chief Warrant Officer and Warrant Officer Association of the United States Coast Guard, Commissioned Officers Association of the States Public Health Service, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, Fleet Reserve Association, Gold Star Wives of America, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Marine Corps League, Marine Corps Reserve Association, Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Association for Uniformed Services, National Guard Association of the United States, National Military Family Association, National Order of Battlefield Commissions, Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, Naval Reserve Association, Navy League of the United States, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Reserve Enlisted Association, Reserve Officers Association, The Retired Enlisted Association, Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces, United Armed Forces Association, United States Army Warrant Officers Association, USCG Chief Petty Officers Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Veterans' Widows International Network.