FCC Responds to Calls for Reform

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Washington — Chairman Julius Genachowski told
Congress the Federal Communications Commission expects
to soon release a plan for a “continuing” review of
agency rules and processes.

That came in a statement to the House Government
Oversight subcommittee in advance of a government
oversight hearing and in lieu of testimony. He was not
able to make the July 7 hearing, though Republican
commissioner Robert McDowell, an avowed FCC reformer,
was scheduled to speak.

Cass Sunstein, who heads the Office of Management
and Budget’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, told the same
subcommittee last month he had not received a review
plan from the FCC for addressing the costs and benefits of
its regulations, but was hopeful responses would be forthcoming
from the FCC and other independent agencies.

An FCC source familiar with the chairman’s thinking
said no formal review plan would be submitted, and the
source maintains that is still not what is happening.

The same source confirms that the release of the plan is
new, but that it is not directly responsive to that administration
request. The FCC maintains its independence from
that order or the requirement of a formal plan — independent
agencies are not subject to the order — while honoring
the spirit of the order with an ongoing regulatory review,
which predates the order, Genachowski pointed out.

Republican leaders of the subcommittee’s parent Energy
& Commerce Committee had been pushing the chairman
for more specifics on what other regulations could
be ripe for repeal.

The chairman spent much of his statement going over
what the commission has already done, including eliminating
more than 50 “outdated” regulations, which he pointed
out are “far more” than the FCC has adopted.