House Subcommittee OKs FCC-Reform Bills

Measures Head to Full Communications Panel for Markup

WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House Communications Subcommittee approved two Federal Communications Commission process-reform bills on Thursday, reporting them favorably for markup by the full committee.

But Democrats still had issues with the FCC Process Reform Act and signaled there would need to be compromises in full-committee markup.

There was less disagreement on the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act, which would combine a number of the agency’s reports.

"I support the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act of 2013, which recognizes that there are opportunities to streamline many of the outdated reporting requirements Congress has placed on the FCC," ranking committee member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said in a statement following the vote. "At a time in which agency resources are limited, we should ensure the FCC is maximizing its staff time."

And while Eshoo praised revisions to that bill that suggested to her a willingness by the majority to find common ground, she said it was no surprise that she could not support provisions that gut “the FCC’s ability to protect the public interest in media and telecom mergers," she said.

 The bill would, among other things, limit the conditions the FCC can impose on media mergers.

Similar bills also passed out of committee last session and were approved by the full House before failing to gain traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.