Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) the Ranking Members of the House Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee respectively, say that the new spectrum bill from Greg Walden (R-OR) was dumped on them Tuesday 11/29/11, and they need more time to consider it. They want a scheduled 12/1/11 markup postponed.
For starters, they complain they were left out of the loop since early October, when what they said had been productive bipartisan discussions came to an abrupt end.
They said they liked allocating spectrum for public safety, but have numerous other problems with the bill, in the areas of spreading out responsibility for public safety, lack of provisions for unlicensed spectrum and limitations on the FCC’s ability to act in the public interest.
A provision allowing $3B for broadcast television relocation was questioned specifically – the RMs said a CBO estimate thought $1B would be sufficient for this task.
They also feel that a national non-profit should be assigned to oversee a national public safety network, rather than going with a one-per-state plan that the Republicans favor.
They also said that the bill would take ultimate authority for the safety network to a private contractor, which would have the power to approve or deny the plans of the individual states.
“We believe the differences between us can be resolved and we have some new ideas for bridging our differences that we would like to discuss with you. We hope you will agree to postpone the markup so we can work with you to produce a bipartisan bill that all members can support.”