Mr. BARTON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I do support the Rush amendment. I think it is an addition to the base bill, and it continues to show the excellent leadership that Mr. Rush is providing on this issue, and I would urge my colleagues at the appropriate time to support the amendment.
At this point in time, I would like to enter into a colloquy with the gentleman from Washington, Congressman Reichert.
Mr. REICHERT. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your leadership on this legislation and I would like to call attention to an issue of extreme importance to America's public safety providers: The inability of Americans to use 911 on their Voice Over Internet Protocol phones. As a former cop, this certainly ranks high on the list of my concerns.
The Federal Communications Commission attempted to address this issue by requiring Voice Over IP companies to provide enhanced 911 before they could sell their services. I am largely in favor of this bill; however, it does reverse the FCC ruling. It allows Voice Over IP companies to continue to sell telephone service without having to properly route 911 calls for as long as 6 months after entering a new market. Six months is too long to wait, which is why many first responders have not embraced
There have already been tragedies and near tragedies that have occurred when Voice Over IP consumers have tried to call 911 in an emergency. To call 911 and receive the service is a necessity regardless of the type of phone service a caller is using. Customers expect this capability.
The ability to provide every American full access to 911 is of great concern to me. Our first duty is to protect American citizens. I urge you to address this issue before the legislation is finalized in conference.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me this opportunity voice my concerns.