Walden, Heller Unveil FCC Process Reform Legislation
November 2, 2011
WASHINGTON: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the Energy
and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and Sen. Dean Heller
(R-Nev.) today unveiled legislation to improve the way the Federal Communications
Commission operates by improving transparency, predictability, and consistency as
part of Republicans’ ongoing effort to ensure the commission’s work encourages job
creation, investment, and innovation.
The legislation would require the commission to:
• Survey the state of the marketplace through a Notice of Inquiry before initiating
new rulemakings to ensure the it has an up-to-date understanding of the rapidly
evolving telecom marketplace.
• Identify a market failure, consumer harm, or regulatory barrier to investment
before adopting economically significant rules. After identifying such an issue,
it must demonstrate that the benefits of regulation outweigh the costs while taking
into account the need for regulation to impose the least burden on society.
• Establish performance measures for all program activities.
• Adhere to the regulatory reform principles that President Obama endorsed in his
January 2011 Executive Order.
• Prevent regulatory overreach by requiring any conditions imposed on transactions
to be within the commission’s existing authority and be tailored to transaction-specific
• Enhance consistency and transparency in operations by requiring the FCC to establish
and disclose its own internal procedures for:
~ adequate review and deliberation
regarding pending orders,
~ publication of orders before
~ initiation of items by bipartisan
~ minimum public review periods
for statistical reports and ex parte communications.
• Establish “shot clocks” so parties know how quickly they can expect action in
• Operate more efficiently through reform of the “sunshine” rules, allowing a bipartisan
majority of commissioners to meet for collaborative discussions subject to transparency
• Consolidate eight, separate congressionally mandated reports on the communications
industry into a single comprehensive report with a focus on intermodal competition,
deploying communications capabilities to unserved communities, and eliminating regulatory
“We have reached out to our Democratic colleagues, [FCC] Chairman Genachowski, each
commissioner, and job creators to identify what current FCC processes work and what
can be improved. Taking this feedback into account, we developed a series of sensible
process reforms to improve the way the commission operates,” Walden said.