FCC Process Reform Bill Passes House Communications Subcommittee
November 16, 2011 at 4:59 PM (PT)
The FCC Process Reform Act of 2011, HR 3309, has passed the House Communications Subcommittee by a party-line vote of 14 to 9. Two Republican-proposed amendments were tacked onto the bill, one requiring links from the FCC website homepage to detailed budget information and the other changing the phrasing of one sentence, while two Democratic-proposed amendments were defeated and three were withdrawn. A companion bill, the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act of 2011, requiring the FCC to issue a bi-annual report on competition in the video, satellite, telecommunications, and mobile wireless markets, also passed by a voice vote.
As previously reported, changes to FCC procedures in the FCC reform bill include that the FCC would be required to institute "shot clocks" to let parties know how quickly they could expect action on proceedings, and closed meetings would be allowed among three or more Commissioners under certain conditions. The bill also requires the Commission identify a market failure, consumer harm, or regulatory barrier to investment before it adopts "economically significant rules" and conduct a cost-benefit analysis when establishing the need for the rules.
Subcommittee Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-OR) said that "in the end, the legislation we look at today is about increasing transparency and accountability at one agency that should be at the forefront of open government. Transparency and predictability in the regulatory process should be the rule, not the exception. Good government should not be about Republicans or Democrats. Both sides have had their share of problems while running the Commission. It’s not about Chairman GENACHOWSKI. I have repeatedly said the current chairman has improved many of the processes at the FCC.
"But good government is about the American public -- what they expect and what they deserve. The American public deserves a transparent and accountable federal government. I say, let’s start here."