House Commerce Passes FCC Consolidated Reporting Act

WASHINGTON—The House Energy & Commerce Committee today approved one bill to reform the FCC. The measure would consolidate what are now eight separate reports the commission must prepare annually for Congress into one.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., along with Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore. and Ranking Member Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., sponsored H.R. 2844. The legislation also eliminates four outdated reports, including one on the status of competition in the telegraph industry.

Scalise said the measure helps streamline the government “so businesses can focus on growing and creating jobs, rather than being burdened by outdated and cumbersome mandates” from the feds. Full Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said the measure would allow the FCC to become more efficient and effective and help the agency to keep pace with the rapid changes in communications.

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller introduced a similar measure into the Senate this week.

The committee approved an amendment that allows a newly sworn in chairman who takes office just prior to the report’s due date to have extra time to complete the portion of the report on the chairman’s agenda and also clarifies that the bill does not change the FCC’s authority to issue other reports.

Lawmakers are still hammering out details for another bill to reform the commission that would include binding deadlines for proceedings along with the publication of the full text of a rule for public comment before a commission vote.