House Republicans spank FCC on USF proceeding


House Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications Subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) are keeping the heat on the FCC even as they work to pass a bill designed to rein the agency in. They said that a recent rulemaking on the Universal Service Fund points out exactly what they think is wrong with the Commission.

They are concerned that among other things, changes were made between the time USF was considered and the item was adopted. They want an outline detailing exactly what changes were made in the interim.

The duo wrote, “Some of the Commission’s actions in this proceeding have reaffirmed our concerns about process. For example, the Subcommittee has previously noted that the Commission should give the public adequate time to review and respond to all materials in the record before the Commission’s sunshine rules bar public efforts to influence Commissioners and staff. Some have explicitly cited the last-minute ‘data dump’ in the net neutrality proceeding, where the Commission entered into the record over 1,900 pages of documents in the two days before that record closed. We are disappointed to see that the Commission used the same tactic in the universal service docket.

They continued, “Another process concern has been ensuring that Commissioners have adequate time to review items they are expected to vote on, and keeping the public informed on what Commissioners are in fact voting. The practice of negotiating up to, and sometimes after, the Commission’s open agenda meeting appears to have reached an apex in the universal service proceeding.”