Pallone & Doyle Highlight 2019 Accomplishments of Communications and Technology Subcommittee
Washington, D.C. – With the first year of the 116th Congress coming to a close, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) highlighted the Subcommittee’s work to restore net neutrality, combat the robocall epidemic, secure America’s telecommunications supply chain, fix faulty broadband maps, and more. The Subcommittee held 12 hearings, three markups, and passed 11 bills this year.
“This year, we’ve worked to put consumers first and strengthen our economy by passing legislation through the House to restore a free and open internet and combat scam and spam robocalls,” Pallone and Doyle said. “We also passed bipartisan bills to connect the unconnected by improving our nation’s broadband maps, secure our telecommunications networks by rooting out suspect equipment, and update our media laws so consumers know exactly what video services they’re paying for. It was a productive year in the Subcommittee, but our work is far from over, and we look forward to another successful year in 2020.”
Restoring a free and open internet to spark innovation and protect small businesses:
- Passed through the Subcommittee and Full Committee H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act, which was then passed by the House on April 10 by a vote of 232-190. The legislation reverses the disastrous repeal by Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in late 2017 of critical net neutrality protections. It enacts the three legacy net neutrality principles – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization – and empowers the FCC to prohibit unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory practices by internet service providers.
Working to stop the onslaught of annoying robocalls:
- Passed through the Subcommittee and Full Committee H.R. 3375, the bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which was then passed by the House on July 24 by a vote of 429-3. Earlier this month, the House passed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, which was a bipartisan, bicameral agreement, by a vote of 417-3. The bill ensures every call Americans get will be verified, that consumers can block calls they don’t want, and more. It awaits a vote in the Senate and then will head to the President’s desk for his signature.
Reauthorizing media laws to protect consumers:
- Passed through the Subcommittee and Full Committee H.R. 5035, the bipartisan Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019. The bill permanently reauthorizes the good faith provisions of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act and requires cable and satellite TV companies to disclose how much they will charge for their video services, including any extra fees. The legislation passed the House by voice vote last week and was included in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations package that passed the House today.
Securing America’s wireless future:
- Passed through the Subcommittee and Full Committee six bills to ensure our nation’s continued dominance in wireless communication, including H.R. 4998, the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act, a bill to secure our telecommunications supply chain. The bills ensure that the government will work more efficiently to promote wireless innovation and better serve all Americans, as well as guarantee our networks are secure from foreign adversaries that may wish to do us harm. H.R. 4998 passed the House by voice vote yesterday.
Improving America’s broadband maps to improve telecommunications services:
- Passed through the Subcommittee and Full Committee two bipartisan bills to ensure the reliability of our nation’s broadband maps. Accurately mapping the availability of broadband internet service is essential to promote the deployment of high-speed service to Americans living in unserved and underserved areas. The House passed both bills by voice vote yesterday.
Proposed sweeping investments in broadband internet and Next Generation 9-1-1:
- Put forth a comprehensive infrastructure package that expands access to broadband internet through the introduction of the LIFT America Act. The Full Committee held a legislative hearing on the bill, which seeks to expand access for communities nationwide and bring broadband to 98 percent of the country by investing $40 billion for the deployment of secure and resilient high-speed broadband internet service. The LIFT America Act also provides another $5 billion in federal funding for low-interest financing of broadband infrastructure deployment. The bill would also make 9-1-1 service more accessible, effective, and resilient, and enable Americans to send text messages, images, or videos to 9-1-1 in times of emergency by investing $12 billion in grants for the implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 services.
Exercising much-needed oversight of the Federal Communications Commission:
- Held two oversight hearings of the FCC in May and in December. We pressed the FCC Commissioners about critical issues affecting consumers, some of which Committee members had previously raised in letters to the Commission, such as the allocation of spectrum, diversity in media ownership, wireless network resiliency, the Lifeline program, the unauthorized disclosure of consumers’ real-time location data, the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, and more.
Exploring whether consumers are adequately protected online:
- Over the last few years, bad actors, both foreign and domestic, have increasingly abused the Internet to peddle extremism, disinformation, and hatred that divides our nation. On October 16, a joint subcommittee hearing explored whether online companies are appropriately using the tools they have – including protections Congress granted in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – to foster a healthier internet.