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Pallone Applauds Committee Passage of Communications Legislation

Jul 15, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after the Committee advanced seven communications bills and one House resolution to the full House of Representatives:

“The Energy and Commerce Committee passed eight critical pieces of legislation today to make Americans safer, improve the security of wireless infrastructure and modernize federal spectrum management.  I’m especially proud of my bipartisan bill to promote equipment and technologies to ensure a more diverse, sustainable and competitive supply chain for America’s 5G networks.  America must promote the development of trusted alternatives to suspect 5G equipment so we can secure our critical networks and those of our allies in the fight against Huawei.  These are all good pieces of legislation that I hope will move to the House floor soon.”

H.R. 451, the “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Al Green (D-TX) and Peter King (R-NY), repeals the requirement on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reallocate and auction the 470-512 MHz spectrum band, also known as the T-Band.  This legislation also addresses the diversion of 9-1-1 fees.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

H. Res. 549, a resolution reaffirming the commitment of the House of Representatives to media diversity and pledging to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity, was introduced by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).  The resolution was favorably reported by voice vote.

H.R. 4194, the “National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), amends the Communications Act to designate 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.   The bill also allows states to impose a fee or charge on voice service subscribers’ bills for the support or implementation of suicide prevention services.  An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute was offered by Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) that made technical and conforming edits was adopted by voice vote.  The bill was favorably reported, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 5567, the “Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for Diversity Act of 2020” or the “MEDIA Diversity Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. Billy Long (R-MO) and Marc Veasey (D-TX), requires the FCC to consider, with the input of its Office of Communications Business Opportunities, market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

H.R. 5918, A bill to direct the Federal Communications Commission to issue reports after activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System and to make improvements to network outage reporting, which was introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA), requires the FCC to establish formal processes to take effect in instances when the FCC activates the Disaster Information Reporting System.  An amendment in the Nature of a Substitute was offered by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) to make technical and conforming edits was adopted by voice vote.  The bill was favorably reported, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 6096, the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Bilirakis, Pete Olson (R-TX), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), among other things, amends the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act to include emergency alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a type of alert that subscribers of mobile service may not block from their devices, as currently, alerts from the President may not be blocked.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

H.R. 6624, the “Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act of 2020” or the “USA Telecommunications Act,” which was introduced by Pallone, Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Matsui and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), creates the Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Grant Program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and authorizes up to $750 million in grants on a competitive basis to support the deployment and use of Open RAN 5G Networks in America.  The legislation also requires a detailed report to Congress each year grants are made and a report detailing the current state of the 5G network supply chain within 180 days of enactment, and establishes an advisory committee consisting of the FCC, federal agencies and other representatives from the private and public sectors, to advise the NTIA on technology developments to help inform the strategic direction of the grant program.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

H.R. 7310, the “Spectrum IT Modernization Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Latta, as well as Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Tim Walberg (R-MI).  This bill requires the NTIA to submit to Congress a report on its plans to modernize agency information technology systems relating to managing the use of federal spectrum.  It would also require the Government Accountability Office to conduct oversight over the implementation of the plans.  The bill was favorably reported by voice vote.

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