Bipartisan Chorus Grows Louder for FCC Reform
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today discussed a number of ways to increase transparency at the Federal Communications Commission and make their work more accessible to the American people. Subcommittee members from both sides of the aisle released draft bills to reform the commission and improve its processes ahead of today’s hearing. These efforts are a part of the committee’s work to reauthorize the FCC and its efforts toward a #CommActUpdate.
"Our subcommittee, often on a bipartisan basis, has worked to make the FCC a more transparent and accountable public body for many years and under various FCC chairmen," said Walden. "We believe the public deserves more access to the process. We believe the public is best served by an open, transparent and accountable government. And we will not stop in our cause and quest, even if that means taking on the entrenched and powerful. We have only just begun."
"Transparency at the FCC has been an area ripe for improvement for quite some time. At issue is not the content of the commission’s actions, but the process by which their rules and orders are developed, considered, and implemented," added full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), "We should encourage more dialogue, not less – and that is what these draft bills will accomplish."
Members today heard from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly as they discussed transparency at the commission. Up for review at today’s hearing were three draft bills to provide the public increased access to decision-making information and final rules at the FCC.
- A bill offered by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) would require the FCC to publish a list of items that are placed on delegated authority – that is, decided at the bureau level in lieu of a commission vote.
- A bill offered by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) would require the FCC to publish the draft of a rulemaking, order, report or any other action when it is circulated to the commissioners for a vote. The bill does not prevent the FCC from making changes to the item after it has been circulated, but it allows the public to see what the chairman is proposing to the rest of the commission.
- A bill offered by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) would require the FCC to publish new rules on the same day that they are adopted.
Subcommittee Democrats today joined Republican efforts to reform the commission, releasing a number of draft bills to "keep the FCC fast, efficient, and transparent."