In his first year as chairman of the Commerce Committee, Senator Pressler authored and won overwhelming congressional and presidential approval of the most sweeping reform of telecommunications legislation to ever hit the books--the Pressler Telecommunications Act of 1996. This law would not have happened but for Senator Pressler's dogged dedication and determination. He brought differing viewpoints to the table, negotiated a compromise and chaired the House/Senate Conference Committee which made the final law possible. The impact of the Act was felt immediately upon its enactment. Investments in new, start-up companies in a wide range of communications services increased dramatically. Major firms sought new alliances in order to compete globally, as well as domestically. Prices for a variety of communications services are declining with increased competition. As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) summed things up: "When most people hear the name Pressler, they think of telecommunications. Through Senator Pressler's efforts, we are now ready to take America's telecommunications industry into the 21st century."

Senator Pressler is pleased with the Act's result; and in a recent interview, said of the Act's progress: "There has been an explosion of mergers, new companies and various other activities. Each day the news media are filled with countless items corroborating the 1996 Act's success. Indeed, many admit that the basic forces driving our strong economy emanated from the 1996 Telecommunications Act's efficiency and effectiveness."

The Act has had an enormous impact internationally. Since its inception, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has adopted much of the act verbatim and it now is being applied internationally. Some economists have called the Act the most important industrial restructuring in world history. Senator Pressler believes that the Act will stand for at least 10-15 more years, as the basic ground rule source for our courts and for the way telecommunications is done, not only in the Untied States, but also throughout the world.

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