There has been no honeymoon for Tom Wheeler, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. On his 39th day at the regulatory agency, Wheeler got an earful from the GOP-controlled communications and technology subcommittee. Democrats also weren’t shy about making a few suggestions.
FCC process reform
After three years of going nowhere in the Senate, a bill to reform how the Federal Communications Commission does business may finally get passed, now that it has Democratic backing.
The House Commerce Committee Wednesday sent to the floor a no-brainer of a proposal that will allow the Federal Communications Commission to consolidate eight reports into one biennial communications marketplace study. It also gets rid of the anual telegraph report (yes, it's still on the books!), which dates back to 1934.
It was déjà vu today when a House subcommittee once again revisited a pair of bills aimed at reforming how the Federal Communications Commission does business. Democrats didn’t like the bills last year when they passed the GOP-controlled House, and they don’t like the newly minted ones now.
Dems put up a vigorous attack of the GOP's bill to reform how the Federal Communications Commission conducts its rulemaking process and reviews mergers, but they couldn't get the votes to defeat the bill, which passed the House 247-174, with 12 Democrats joining the GOP.
Over the objections of House Democrats, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to send to the floor a bill that would transform how the Federal Communications Commission conducts its business. Democrats mounted a vigorous debate during today's markup ending in a 31-16 vote with only one Democrat, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, siding with the GOP.