Congressional Budget Office

CBO Scores the MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act of 2017

The MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act of 2017 (S 770) would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide resources to small businesses to help them reduce their cybersecurity risks. Under the bill, NIST would be required to provide and update tools, methodologies, guidelines, and other resources to small business to use on a voluntary basis.

Based on an analysis of information from NIST, CBO estimates that implementing S 770 would cost $6 million over the 2018-2022 period, including $2 million in 2018 for NIST to consult with several federal agencies and develop such resources and an additional $4 million over the 2019-2022 period to update those resources; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting S 770 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting S 770 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028. S 770 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

CBO Scores Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act

The Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (S 88) would direct the Department of Commerce (DOC) to convene a working group of representatives from various federal agencies and a steering committee of private stakeholders to produce reports and recommendations to the Congress to improve intragovernmental coordination and to encourage the development of the Internet of things. The bill also would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prepare a report assessing the need for spectrum to support such developments.

Based on an analysis of information from the affected agencies, CBO estimates that implementing S. 88 would require about sixteen employees and would cost $4 million over the 2018-2022 period to convene the working group and to develop the reports required under the bill. Those costs would be spread among the federal agencies that would be a part of the working group and such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Participating in the working group and completing the spectrum report would cost the FCC less than $500,000. However, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net effect on discretionary spending for those activities would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.

CBO Scores FCC Consolidated Reporting Act

The Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2017 (S.174) would require the Federal Communications Commission to prepare a biennial report for the Congress that assesses certain characteristics of the communications industry. The report would analyze the state of competition in the markets for voice, video, audio, and data services; the availability of advanced communications capabilities; and barriers to competitive entry or expansion in the communications marketplace. S. 174 also would relieve the FCC of requirements to prepare certain other reports on topics ranging from access to satellite services to prices for cable services. In all, the bill would eliminate more than 20 reports and notices, including some that remain in current law even though the deadlines for their completion have passed.

On the basis of an analysis of information from the FCC, CBO estimates that implementing the provisions of S. 174 would not have a significant effect on the agency’s costs. Any additional expenses the FCC would incur to prepare the new assessment of the communications industry would be offset by a reduction in costs that otherwise would have been incurred for reports that would be eliminated under the bill. Moreover, under current law, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net cost to the FCC to implement S. 174 would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority. Enacting S. 174 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting S. 174 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028. S. 174 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

CBO Scores Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act (S 19)

The Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act (S 19) would authorize federal agencies to implement various programs and measures related to management of the electromagnetic spectrum. It would direct federal agencies to prepare reports, develop information for firms that provide telecommunications services, award prizes for advanced technologies, and ensure that certain radio frequencies are made available for commercial uses.

CBO estimates that enacting S 19 would increase net direct spending by $141 million over the 2018-2027 period, primarily as a result of provisions that would accelerate spending related to making federal spectrum available for commercial use. CBO also estimates that implementing the bill would cost $88 million over the 2018-2022 period, subject to the appropriation of the necessary amounts, mainly to develop new data systems and carry out spectrum management activities. If the Federal Communications Commission increases annual fee collections to offset the costs of implementing the bill, doing so would increase the cost of an existing private-sector mandate on some commercial entities regulated by the agency. Based on information from the FCC, CBO estimates that the incremental cost of the mandate would be small, and fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($156 million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation).

CBO Scores Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act of 2017

The Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act of 2017 (S 102) would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study ways to enhance access to telecommunications services during emergencies when mobile service is unavailable. The bill also would redefine the term “essential service provider” to explicitly include certain telecommunication mediums, such as Internet and cable services, in a list of entities that provide essential services. (Providers of essential services are generally provided access to disaster sites in order to restore and repair services during emergency situations.) Finally, S. 102 would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study ways the federal government could increase the resiliency of essential communication services during emergencies.

Based on an analysis of information from the FCC, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that carrying out the analysis required by the bill would increase the agency’s administrative costs by less than $500,000. However, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net effect on discretionary spending would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority. Based on the costs of similar reports prepared by GAO, CBO estimates that the increased costs to GAO to conduct the required study would be insignificant.

CBO Scores Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act

The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2017 (S. 96) would require certain providers of voice communication services to register with the Federal Communications Commission. It also would require the agency to issue rules establishing service quality standards for those providers. CBO assumes that S. 96 will be enacted in the first half of fiscal year 2017.

On the basis of an analysis of information from the FCC, CBO estimates that implementing S. 96 would cost $4 million over the 2017-2022 period for the agency to establish and operate the registry of voice communication service providers and to promulgate rules establishing service quality standards. However, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year. Therefore, CBO estimates that the net cost to implement S. 96 would be negligible, assuming annual appropriation actions consistent the agency’s authorities. Enacting S. 96 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting S. 96 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
S. 96 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

CBO Scores the OPEN Government Data Act

The OPEN Government Data Act (S 2852) would direct federal agencies to publish all data they collect in an open format that can be used by any computer. Under the bill, the Office of Management and Budget would establish an inventory of all federal data sets and would direct the General Services Administration to maintain an online interface for all such data. In addition, S. 2852 would rename the Office of Electronic Government as the Office of the Federal Chief Financial Officer.

CBO expects that implementing S. 2852 would have no significant effect on spending because agencies effectively are already working to implement the requirements of the bill. CBO estimates that enacting S. 2852 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027. S. 2852 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or trial governments.

CBO Scores American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084) would amend current law and authorize the appropriation of about $17.3 billion over the 2017-2018 period for the operations of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Assuming appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $16.4 billion over the 2017-2021 period and $0.9 billion after 2021. CBO also estimates that enacting S. 3084 would increase direct spending by $25 million over the 2017-2026 period because enacting the legislation would authorize NIST to enter into enhanced-use leasing arrangements. Because enacting the bill would increase direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting S. 3084 would not affect revenues. CBO estimates that enacting S. 3084 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027. S. 3084 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.

CBO Scores Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act

The Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2016 (H.R. 2566) would require certain providers of voice communication services to register with the Federal Communications Commission. It also would require the FCC to issue rules establishing service quality standards for those providers.

Based on an analysis of information from the FCC about the effort needed to create those service standards, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2566 would cost $3 million over the 2017-2021 period. However, under current law the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the cost of its regulatory activities each year. Therefore, CBO estimates that the net cost to implement H.R. 2566 would be negligible, assuming annual appropriation actions consistent with the agency’s authorities. Enacting H.R. 2566 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2566 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027. H.R. 2566 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform (UMRA) and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

CBO Scores Digital GAP Act

The Digital GAP Act (HR 5537) would codify many of the guiding principles and practices of the federal government’s efforts to promote Internet access in developing countries. In addition, the bill would require the President to report to the Congress on his policy to promote such access and on partnerships between federal agencies to provide access and expand infrastructure.

On the basis of information from the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2017-2021 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply because enacting H.R. 5537 would not affect direct spending or revenues. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5537 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027. H.R. 5537 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.