The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a four-year extension on the ban on Internet access taxes, voting on a 405-2 margin.
The ban, which has been extended twice since 1998, was set to expire on Nov. 1. The technology industry has lobbied for a permanent ban, but states have asked for the moratorium to be temporary. The bill exempts states that passed taxes on Internet access before the ban was originally mandated. The bill does not address sales taxes on goods purchased over the Internet.
The Senate will now act on the legislation. There is support there for a permanent moratorium on Internet taxes, but there was also support in the House as well. A bill that would make the moratorium permanent attracted 238 co-sponsors in the House. Republicans complained that Democrats blocked a vote on that version of the bill. The Bush administration also supported a permanent ban.
"Although we recognize that a temporary extension is better than letting the moratorium expire, we are extremely disappointed that the legislation does not extend permanently the moratorium on Internet access taxes," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez in a joint statement.
However, Democrats urged that the Senate now take up the legislation that was passed before the deadline arrives.
"It is critical that the Senate now act on this bipartisan legislation ahead of the Internet access tax moratorium's expiration on Nov. 1," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement. "Americans must not face a toll road when they get on the information superhighway."
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