Pallone Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a full Committee markup of five bipartisan bills:
Today, the Committee is marking up five bipartisan bills.
We will begin by considering four bills out of our Communications and Technology Subcommittee. First, the Spectrum Innovation Act will help expedite the process for freeing up airwaves in the Lower 3 gigahertz band for commercial wireless use. It also establishes a process for the Secretary of Commerce to identify at least 200 megahertz in the band for exclusive or shared use and requires an auction of these airwaves within seven years.
An AINS offered by Ranking Member Latta and Chairman Doyle today will add H.R. 7783, the bipartisan Extending American’s Spectrum Auction Leadership Act, which provides the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the necessary authority to auction valuable airwaves. The AINS also includes the text of H.R. 5486, the SMART Act. This bill provides the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with the authority and resources it needs to design innovative technologies to help meet our nation’s future spectrum demands. This AINS, along with H.R. 4990, the ITS Codification Act, which we are also considering today, reaffirms once again that NTIA is the agency that should lead the charge in both overseeing our federal airwaves and ensuring their efficient use.
I am also pleased that the amendment establishes that future auction proceeds not already accounted for must be used to help fund two important public initiatives – the FCC’s rip and replace program and the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 networks. Collectively, these two programs will help keep all Americans safer and more secure.
We will also consider H.R. 4275, the Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Act, which seeks to reduce the barriers that consumers can face when trying to enroll in federal programs to obtain voice and internet services. And then H.R. 7132, the Safe Connections Act, will help protect survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other related crimes by requiring mobile providers to separate a survivor's phone line from an account shared with their abuser.
Finally, we will consider H.R. 3630, the Lymphedema Treatment Act. This important legislation will provide Medicare coverage of compression garments for individuals with lymphedema, a chronic condition commonly caused by cancer treatments that remove or damage lymph nodes. While there is no cure, the use of compression garments can significantly improve outcomes and reduce the risk of infections and costly hospitalizations. This bill will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries with lymphedema have access to the full range of treatments they need.
I look forward to advancing all five of these bipartisan bills today.