FCC's Wheeler, Pai Appear Before House Panel For Budget Hearing
March 26, 2014 at 4:09 AM (PT)
At a House Financial Services Subcommittee panel hearing TUESDAY (3/26) on the FCC's budget request, FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER and Commissioner AJIT PAI spoke more about issues facing the Commission than the budget itself.
BROADCASTING AND CABLE reports that the FCC representatives were grilled on the pending vote on restricting television Joint Sales Agreements, Shared Services Agreements, and Local Marketing Agreements, with WHEELER telling Rep. TOM GRAVES (R-GA) that making some of the arrangements attributable would make companies have to establish why the deals would be in the public interest, while PAI alleged that the limits would decrease ownership diversity.
The controversial CIN newsroom study recently tabled by the Commission was another point of contention, with WHEELER supporting the underlying goal but admitting that some of the planned questions raised concerns, and PAI, whose WALL STREET JOURNAL op-ed WHEELER credited, or blamed, for creating the furor that led to the study being pulled, saying that government should stay out of newsrooms.
On the budget, WHEELER said that the $35 million increase the FCC is seeking is for IT upgrades, Universal Service Fund reforms, and mandatory salary and benefits increases and inflation adjustments.
WHEELER and PAI will appear before the Senate Financial Services Committee for a budget hearing on THURSDAY (3/27).