The Subcommittee just approved seven measures and sent them forward to the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Some but not all of the measures have bipartisan support.
“I am pleased that both Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value of increased transparency at the commission and see a need for congressional action to improve the FCC’s decision-making process,” said Walden. “The FCC’s work doesn’t only impact the industries that it regulates, but as daily consumers of communications services, our own lives as well. This is why it is so important to make sure that the FCC functions in an effective, transparent manner.”
“Due process and transparency are too important to simply give up on and I applaud the subcommittee’s commitment to making meaningful improvements,” added full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “My colleagues from both sides of the aisle also have offered sensible reforms that will improve the function of the FCC in a significant way. Transparency and process are the foundation of public trust in the government and are critical to the legitimacy of law.”
The subcommittee advanced the following bills:
* A draft bill, authored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), that would require the FCC to coordinate with the Small Business Administration and issue recommendations to improve small business participation in FCC proceedings. The draft bill was approved by voice vote.
* A draft bill, Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA), that would require the chairman to post the commission’s internal procedures on the FCC website and update the website when the chairman makes any changes. The draft bill was approved by voice vote.
* A draft bill, authored by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), that would require the FCC to report quarterly to Congress and to post on the FCC website data on the total number of decisions pending categorized by bureau, the type of request, and how long the requests have been pending. The report also includes a list of pending Congressional investigations and an audited cost to the agency. The draft bill was approved by voice vote.
* A bill offered by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) would require the FCC to publish a list of items that are placed on delegated authority – that is, decided at the bureau level in lieu of a commission vote. The draft bill was approved by a vote of 16-12.
* A bill offered by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) would require the FCC to publish new rules on the same day that they are adopted. The draft bill was approved by a vote of 17-13.
* A bill offered by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) would require the FCC to publish the draft of a rulemaking, order, report or any other action when it is circulated to the commissioners for a vote. The bill does not prevent the FCC from making changes to the item after it has been circulated, but it allows the public to see what the chairman is proposing to the rest of the commission. The draft bill was approved by voice vote.
* A discussion draft of the FCC Process Reform Act, authored by subcommittee Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), that aims to increase transparency and predictability at the commission. The draft bill was approved by voice vote.