AMENDMENT NO. 2 OFFERED BY MR. SESSIONS
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 2 offered by Mr. Sessions:
After section 10 of the bill insert the following section (and redesignate the succeeding sections accordingly):
SEC. 11. GAO STUDY OF INDECENT BROADCASTING COMPLAINTS.
(a) Inquiry and Report Required.-The General Accounting Office shall conduct a study examining-
(1) the number of complaints concerning the broadcasting of obscene, indecent, and profane material to the Federal Communications Commission;
(2) the number of such complaints that result in final agency actions by the Commission;
(3) the length of time taken by the Commission in responding to such complaints;
(4) what mechanisms the Commission has established to receive, investigate, and respond to such complaints; and
(5) whether complainants to the Commission are adequately informed by the Commission of the responses to their complaints.
(b) Submission of Report.-The General Accounting Office shall submit a report on the results of such study within one year after the date of enactment of this Act to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 554, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions).
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
My amendment is a simple contribution to this bill that I believe will bring some additional accountability and enforcement to the FCC's current process of handling broadcasting complaints and proposed violation of FCC rules.
My amendment to this legislation would give the General Accounting Office 1 year to study and report back to Congress on the number of complaints concerning the broadcasting of obscenity, indecency, and profane material to the Federal Communications Commission; the number of such complaints that result in final agency actions by the commission; the length of time taken by the commission in responding to such complaints; what mechanisms the commission has established to proceed, investigate, and respond to such complaints; and whether such complaints to the commission are adequately informed by the commission of their responses to those complainants.
I believe that this amendment will help this body to conform with third-party data and the relevant facts and figures that the FCC is doing its utmost to carry out the intent of the important legislation that we are considering today.
The Upton legislation will crack down on indecent over-the-air broadcasts and will bring much-needed accountability to our public airwaves. Last year, there were over 240,000 complaints against 375 programs, but the FCC issued only three notices of proposed violations. I believe that Congress should get more information about what the FCC is doing to help us perform an important oversight function over the FCC's action and its accountability to the American public.
I would like to thank the gentleman from Michigan (Chairman UPTON), the gentleman from Texas (Chairman BARTON), and the gentleman from California (Chairman Dreier) for their important work and leadership in bringing this legislation to the floor today. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to allow the GAO to gain more information from the FCC about how they are handling complaints that they receive on indecent material.
Mr. Chairman, I would simply ask that we include this amendment, and I ask for its immediate consideration.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Does any Member claim the time in opposition?
The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions).
The amendment was agreed to.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed in House Report 108-436.
There being no further amendment in order, the question is on the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute, as amended.
The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute, as amended, was agreed to.
The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Accordingly, under the rule, the Committee rises.
Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Sessions) having assumed the chair, Mr. Isakson, Chairman pro tempore of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 3717) to increase the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters of the prohibitions against transmission of obscene, indecent, and profane language, pursuant to House Resolution 554, he reported the bill back to the House with an amendment adopted by the Committee of the Whole.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the previous question is ordered.
Is a separate vote demanded on any amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute adopted by the Committee of the Whole? If not, the question is on the amendment.
The amendment was agreed to.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was read the third time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, this 15-minute vote on passage will be followed by two 5-minute votes on suspending the rules and adopting House Concurrent Resolution 15 and House Resolution 540, as amended.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were-ayes 391, noes 22, answered "present" 1, not voting 19, as follows:
[Roll No. 55]
Davis, Jo Ann
Johnson, E. B.
Sánchez, Linda T.
Mrs. JONES of Ohio changed her vote from "aye" to "no."
Mr. GINGREY and Mr. McINNIS changed their vote from "no" to "aye."
So the bill was passed.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
The title of the bill was amended so as to read: "A bill to increase the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters of the prohibitions against transmission of obscene, indecent, and profane material, and for other purposes.".
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I was unavoidably delayed and missed rollcall vote No. 55. Had I been present I would have voted "aye," in favor of H.R. 3717, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004.