Reps. Pallone, Doyle Call for FCC Oversight Hearing

WASHINGTON--Democratic leaders on the principal FCC oversight committee want the Republican chair to schedule an FCC oversight hearing ASAP, saying the commission has been willfully evasive.

In a letter to Greg Walden (R-Ore.), House Energy & Commerce Committee chair, ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee chair Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said that while the Republicans had committed to quarterly oversight hearings with FCC commissioners, only two hearings have been held in the last six quarters.

An FCC oversight hearing scheduled for Feb. 16 was ultimately postponed, and the Democrats want it rescheduled immediately.

[Read: FCC Commissioners To Testify In House Feb. 16]

They also cited what they said has been FCC chair Ajit Pai's failure answer some questions in letters from committee Democrats, saying that has happened 26 times.

A half dozen other Democratic Communications Subcommittee members also signed the letter, including Reps. Bobby Rush (Ill.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.) and Yvette Clarke (N.Y.).

House Democrats, who have a bone to pick with Pai over numerous issues, from broadcast and net-neutrality deregulation to merger reviews and broadband subsidies, also have a bone to pick with what they say has been a lack of responsiveness to their queries about those and other issues.

Pai's office countered at the time that he has provided answers and will be giving them more. “We have already responded to 21 of the letters in question and look forward to responding to the remaining few in the near future,” said an FCC spokesperson two weeks ago after the then-latest letter accusing Pai of being unresponsive.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio WorldTV TechTV FaxThis Week in Consumer ElectronicsVariety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.