No actions available.

Full Text of this Amendment

SA 3625. Mr. PRYOR submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 2419, to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:
(a) ESTABLISHMENT.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a pilot program, to be known as the ``Improving Broadband in Rural America for the Nation's Children'' or the ``iBRANCH program'', that will provide grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities for the purpose of assisting low-income student households in eligible rural communities overcome barriers related to the use of broadband services in the home, including barriers related to--
(1) computer and broadband literacy;
(2) computer and software ownership; and
(3) access to affordable broadband service.
(b) GRANT REQUIREMENTS.--To be eligible for a grant under this program, an eligible entity shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that it--
(1) has the managerial and technical skills to carry out the project successfully;
(2) will provide support to low income student households on a portable and competitively neutral basis;
(3) will utilize an acceptable approach to preparing low-income students and households to improve the student educational experience with broadband and to providing Internet safety awareness; and
(4) meets any other necessary or appropriate conditions, standards, or requirements imposed by the Secretary.
(c) MAXIMUM AMOUNT.--The Secretary may not provide more than $1,000,000 in Federal assistance under the pilot program to any applicant per fiscal year.
(d) COST SHARING.--The Secretary may not provide more than 50 percent of the cost, incurred during the period of the grant, of any project funded under the pilot program.
(e) DISTRIBUTION OF GRANTS.--The Secretary shall seek to ensure a broad geographic distribution of project sites to the maximum extent practicable.
(f) ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.--The recipient of a grant awarded under this section may not use more than 5 percent of the grant amount to pay administrative costs associated with activities funded by the grant. The Secretary shall use no more than 5 percent of the amount available for grants under this Act in any fiscal year for administrative costs of the program.
(g) FCC ASSISTANCE.--The Federal Communications Commission may provide such assistance in carrying out the provisions of this section as may be requested by the Secretary. The Secretary shall provide for close coordination with the Commission in the administration of the Secretary's functions under this section which are of interest to or affect the functions of the Commission.
(1) ANNUAL SUMMARY AND EVALUATION REQUIRED.--The Secretary shall require that the recipient of a grant under this section submit a summary and evaluation of the results of the project funded by such a grant at least annually for each year in which funds are received under this section.
(2) BOOKS AND RECORDS.--Each recipient of assistance under this section shall keep such records as may be reasonably necessary to enable the Secretary to carry out the Secretary's functions under this section, including records which fully disclose the amount and the disposition by such recipient of the proceeds of such assistance, the total cost of the project or undertaking in connection with which such assistance is given or used, the amount and nature of that portion of the cost of
the project or undertaking supplied by other sources, and such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.
(3) AUDIT AND EXAMINATION.--The Secretary and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, shall have access for the purposes of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers, and records of the recipient that are pertinent to assistance received under this section.
(i) REGULATIONS.--The Secretary may make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section, including regulations relating to the order of priority in approving applications for projects under this section or to determining the amounts of grants for such projects.
(j) DEFINITIONS.--In this section:
(1) ELIGIBLE ENTITY.--The term `eligible entity' means a nonprofit organization that is designated by a State to work in partnership with State agencies, representatives of the eligible rural community, and other interested parties in administering grant funds.
(2) ELIGIBLE RURAL COMMUNITY.--The term `eligible rural community' means any county (or other appropriate political subdivision where no counties exist) with a population of 20,000 or less.
(3) LOW-INCOME STUDENT HOUSEHOLD.--The term `low-income student household' means any residential household--
(A) with a student enrolled in grades 6 through 10 during the first school year following the date of the grant award; and
(B) that is eligible for the Federal free lunch program.
(4) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.--The term `nonprofit organization' means an organization--
(A) described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code;
(B) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual;
(C) that has an established competency and proven record of working with public and private sectors; and
(D) that has a board of directors a majority of whom are not employed by a broadband service provider or any company in which a broadband service provider owns a controlling or attributable interest.
(k) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $10,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012 to carry out this section.

(As printed in the Congressional Record for the Senate on Nov 13, 2007.)