House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden Introduces Draft FCC Reauthorization Bill And Budget Freeze
March 18, 2015 at 3:56 AM (PT)
In advance of THURSDAY's hearing with all five FCC Commissioners testifying, House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-OR) has released a draft bill to reauthorize the FCC for the first time in 25 years. The bill would freeze the FCC budget for the next four fiscal years, and would keep appropriations for spectrum auction expenses at the same level through 2022, while capping Universal Service Fund appropriations to a maximum of $9 million and creating an independent Inspector General, not subject to hiring or removal by the Chairman, to oversee the agency.
WALDEN said, “After a quarter century, it’s time for another reauthorization. If we have learned anything during our #CommActUpdate process, it’s that communications and technology issues demand a 21st century regulator as much as they need 21st century policies. With this reauthorization, we are charting the course to make the necessary reforms to an agency that is ill equipped for the innovation era.
“This bill addresses the commission’s disproportionate FY 2016 budget request, the runaway growth in the Universal Service Fund, and ensures that the FCC’s Inspector General can conduct oversight of the commission without fear of reprisal from a chairman. The public interest is always better served when government watchdogs can operate independently. I look forward to a spirited discussion with my colleagues and the FCC’s five current commissioners on THURSDAY.”