Under current law, service members may terminate telephone, cable, and internet service contracts without penalty if the service member receives orders to move to a location that the service provider does not cover. H.R. 4356 also would allow the spouse or dependent of a service member or reservist who dies while in military service, or who incurs a catastrophic injury or illness, to cancel such contracts without penalty. CBO estimates that H.R. 4356 would not affect the federal budget.
The bill would impose an intergovernmental and private-sector mandate by prohibiting telecommunication providers, including municipal governments, from imposing early termination fees on service members’ spouses and dependents, as well as members of the reserves who meet the bill’s eligibility requirements. The cost of the mandate would be the revenue lost from cancelled contracts. CBO estimates that the number of reservists, spouses, and dependents eligible under the bill and the average cost of telecommunication contracts would be small. Therefore, the aggregate cost of the mandate would be small and fall well below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($82 million and $164 million in 2019, adjusted annually for inflation).