Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin is scheduled to meet privately with just GOP members of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee two days before he and other FCC members are to testify in public before the Democratic-controlled panel.
Martin’s session with the group of House Republicans was contained in a Feb. 6 memo sent by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to his party colleagues on the panel. The one-page Upton memo, obtained by Multichannel News Wednesday, invited the lawmakers to meet with Martin Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building without staff. Upton, the top-ranking Republican on the subcommittee, indicated that House staff were not invited to attend.
Martin testified before the Senate Commerce Committee last Thursday. The hearing didn’t turn into the grilling that some press reports had predicted.
Next Thursday, Martin is to appear before the House panel under chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who disagrees with Martin on a host of issues. Unlike Martin, Markey supports government-imposed Internet network-nondiscrimination regulation of cable and phone broadband-access providers.
Martin has been meeting with House Democrats separately, and he agreed to meet with House Republicans as a group at their request. A House Democratic staff member with long tenure, however, couldn’t recall a similar meeting involving an FCC chairman and just one party from a committee.
“Chairman Martin meets with members of Congress on both sides of aisle all of the time,” FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper said."
"Chairman Dingell is also holding a members' meeting with chairmnan Martin. It's called an oversight hearing and it's open to the public," Dingell spokeswoman Jodi Seth said.