Today's Regulatory Mix: Congress Urges FCC and FTC Stop To Work on Controversial Items in Light of Election Results, Senate Commerce Committee To Mark Up Several Telecom Bills
Congress Urges FCC and FTC Stop to Work on Controversial Items in Light of Election Results
House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons asking that the two commissions stop work on all partisan or controversial items currently under consideration in light of the results of last week’s presidential election.
“With the results of the 2020 presidential election now apparent, leadership of the FCC will undoubtedly be changing,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote. “As a traditional part of the transfer of power — and as part of our oversight responsibilities — we strongly urge the agency to only pursue consensus and administrative matters that are non-partisan for the remainder of your tenure.” The letter went on to say that “We note that you have previously welcomed calls from congressional leaders for the FCC to ‘halt further action on controversial items during the transition period.’ We hope you will respect this time-honored tradition now.”
In both letters, the Committee leaders acknowledge there are likely a number of consensus matters for the two commissions to carry out and the lawmakers encourage them to do so quickly.
In response, both FCC Commissioners Rosenworcel and Starks released statements. Commissioner Rosenworcel, stated: “I welcome the letter from Chairman Pallone and Chairman Doyle. Historically, the FCC has honored the transfer of power from one Administration to the next by pausing any controversial activity. I urge FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to follow this past practice in order to ensure an orderly transition of agency affairs. I look forward to continuing to work on the routine and consensus matters currently before the agency.”
Commissioner Starks stated: “As two of my Republican colleagues observed in 2016, it is long-standing Commission practice that, upon a presidential transition, the agency suspends its consideration of any partisan, controversial items until the transition period is complete. Our congressional leaders have called for Chairman Pai to respect this precedent, and I expect that he will abide by their request.”
Senate Commerce Committee to Mark up Several Telecom Bills
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced it will convene an executive session on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building G50 to consider the several measures including the following telecom bills.
S. 1166, Internet Exchange Act of 2019, Sponsors: Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Roy Blunt, R-Mo. This bill creates a grant program for the establishment and expansion of facilities through which internet service providers and content delivery networks exchange internet traffic (internet exchange facilities) in unserved or underserved areas. It also allows recipients of funding from the E-Rate and Telehealth programs to apply such funds to the procurement or maintenance of a connection to an internet exchange facility.
S. 4472, Ensuring Network Security Act, Sponsors: Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Roy Blunt, R-Mo. This bill would amend the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Reimbursement Program to include eligible telecommunications carriers and providers of educational broadband service.
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The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.