Final action on an omnibus appropriations bill containing both provisions was passed by both houses late today.
The do-not-call measure, while widely
The fight began when some House leaders gave $16 million the FTC requested to fund the list in the appropriations bill, but decided to pass separate legislation giving the FTC authority to actually implement it. While that legislation passed 418 to 7 in the House, it created potential problems in the Senate.
The omnibus appropriations bill funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year and has to be passed by Congress for the government to operate, but Senate procedures would have allowed any senator to temporarily block a vote on the separate FTC legislation. The prospect that the "hold" would be used to delay for months the list's implementation drew the anger of consumer groups including the AARP and senators including Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C.
The measure's approval now means the next steps are up to the FTC and the courts.
In separate lawsuits, the Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association are arguing the list could have drastic effects and are challenging the FTC's authority to implement the list and its constitutionality.
Four months to set up
The FTC has asked Congress for quick action so it could implement the list before the Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. The FTC said that about four months after Congress approves money for the list, it would begin letting consumers sign up and marketers would have to start buying and using the list several months later.