Policy

Upton Cites Spectrum Legislation Among Committee Q2 Accomplishments

7/17/2012 10:20 AM Eastern

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (D-Mich.) said on the incentive auction legislation that "our spectrum reform is a win for taxpayers, a win for consumers, and a win for the economy as well."

That came in a report to Republican leadership on the committee's accomplishments in the second quarter.

And while he said his committee had pushed that legislation "over the finish line," there was more to be done, citing the establishment of a bipartisan working group on Federal Spectrum to determine how the government can use spectrum more effectively.

Upton cited the March passage of Federal Communications Commission reform legislation (HR 3309) as another accomplishment of the committee, though unlike the spectrum legislation, which made it through Congress to the president's desk, the prospects for Senate passage of the FCC reforms is not good absent a change in control in the next election.

The bill requires the commission to launch inquiries before proposing rules; always print the text of orders before adopting them, essentially requiring the FCC to hew to deadlines and stricter standards of justifying and implementing regs, including market and cost-benefit analyses; and make the regulatory standard more about preventing harms than an "indeterminate" public interest standard.

Also on his list of accomplishments were working on cybersecurity legislation, with "much more work ahead," and online privacy. Upton gives Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee as putting that committee on the "front line" of assuring any federal "intervention" avoids unintended consequences.

He also cited her leadership on H.Con.Res.127, the bipartisan sense of Congress resolution that the U.S. should continue to back the multistakeholder model of international internet governance. Republican and Democrat alike are concerned about an effort by some ITU members to assert more international control of Internet connections by applying phone regulations to the Internet.