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Republican FCC “Process Reform” legislation hits brick wall

For weeks, Republicans in the House of Representatives have beat the drum for “process reform” at the FCC. One member, Senator Greg Walden, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, has claimed the commission “has overreached its statutory authority and been less than open and transparent in its rule making.”

Last week, despite protests from Democrats, the House Energy and Commerce Committee finally passed the Republican legislation, called the “Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act and the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act.”

Then, in the Senate, it all came to an abrupt end when a spokesman for the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said his committee has no plans to even consider the legislation.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) called on Rockefeller to hold hearings on his version of the FCC reform legislation, which closely mirrored the House reform legislation that passed the Energy & Commerce Committee.

“At a minimum, we should bring the FCC commissioners before the Committee and hold an oversight hearing on how the FCC conducts itself,” Heller said. It was not to happen.

Democrats on the House side warned the House Energy & Commerce Committee that the Senate would not approve the legislation and it would never become law. They suggested the entire process and the markup was a big waste of time. They were right.