Democrats still have control of the US Senate, and that means that Jay Rockefeller (D-VA) is still the Chair of the Commerce Committee, and he has a lengthy laundry list of projects he would like to tackle. The good news for broadcasters, perhaps, is that they do not figure on the list.
The wild card is Rockefeller’s promise to provide “oversight over important federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Surface Transportation Board, and the Federal Communications Commission.” Actions by the FCC and, occasionally, the FTC, could bring a broadcasting issue before the Committee.
His main FCC-related issues are broadband deployment and reform of the Universal Service Fund. He has a lot of other priorities that fall under this Committee’s wide range of oversight categories.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to tackle issues that are critical to America’s future,” Rockefeller said. “In the new Congress, I will continue my fight to bring modern day protections for consumers and accountability to fraudsters, promote high-tech job creation and competitiveness, and keep Americans safe, secure, and on the move. I intend to not only complete a number of top priorities that I began in the 111th Congress, but also take on a number of new challenges Americans are facing every day.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Unfortunately, just because Rockefeller didn’t come up with any broadcast specifics at this early point in the year doesn’t mean that broadcasters will be allowed to mind their own business and proceed through the year without intrusive senatorial scrutiny.
Not only do we expect certain issues to come up despite not getting a specific mention on Rockefeller’s agenda, current events always have an impact on the topics congressional committees choose to stick their noses into.
But the fact that broadcasters start out off the radar screen is probably a good thing.