Congress Passes FCC Reform Bill (Again)
November 17, 2015 at 6:10 AM (PT)
By a voice vote, Congress on MONDAY (11/16) passed the FCC Process Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 2583.
The bill, similar to the one passed last year by the House, which requires such changes as establishment of minimum comment periods, performance reviews for rules, and more specific language of rule change proposals in Notices of Proposed Rule Makings, includes three Democratic-proposed amendments that add requirements on reports of what the FCC can do to increase small business participation, publication on the FCC website of a quarterly status report, and publication of any changes to internal policy made by the Chairman.
“This bill is the product of a multi-year, bipartisan legislative process, bringing us to a place where we can at least begin to create a framework for more transparent and predictable rulemakings at the FCC,” said co-sponsor Rep. GREG WALDEN (R-OR), Chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. “Process reform isn’t about the actions of one party, or one chairman. This is about putting rules into place that will carry over from one administration to the next, creating consistency and certainty for the many that are subject to the commission’s rules.... While there is still much work to be done on reforming the procedures at this sometimes broken agency, this bill represents a vital first step in the process. The communications industry and more importantly, the American people, deserve a transparent and accountable federal agency, no matter who is in charge.”
“By requiring the FCC to be more transparent in its rulemakings, and adopt procedures that create certainty, this legislation helps promote jobs, investment, and innovation in MICHIGAN and across the country,” added Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman FRED UPTON (R-MI). “The Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act seeks to make the FCC more transparent and accountable, for both industry and consumers. And while we want to improve the agency as much as possible, we aren’t looking to tie their hands or dictate their procedures; this legislation simply lays out productive goals for the FCC and instructs the agency to determine how best to achieve them.”