Press Release

Public Knowledge Reacts to Senate Commerce Committee Markup

April 27, 2016

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to report seven bills and several nominations out of Committee, including S. 2644, the Federal Communications Commission Reauthorization Act of 2016, and S. 421, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015. Public Knowledge opposes S. 421, which could have a negative impact on the FCC and the agency’s ability to protect consumers.

The following statement can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge, regarding S. 2644:

“We congratulate Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for the careful way in which they have begun to reintroduce a FCC reauthorization process back into the work of the Commerce Committee. Agency reauthorizations can sometimes be targets for controversial policy debates that derail the bill, or even limit the work of the agency.

“Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and their colleagues have set an example by separating controversial topics from this bill. This sort of bipartisan leadership preserves the power of the Commerce Committee’s authorizing and oversight role, without harming the important work of the FCC to protect consumers. We encourage the Senate to follow their lead.”

The following statement can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge, regarding S. 421:

“Public Knowledge opposes this bill as an unnecessary targeting of the FCC process. Senator Heller introduced his bill in the Committee markup by criticizing the process around the FCC’s Open Internet order, the proceeding with perhaps the most participation and comments by the public in the history of the FCC. Claiming that the process was not transparent and open ignores the 4 million comments by the public and the careful changes to the draft rules made by the FCC in response to that public outpouring.

“This bill runs the risk of prolonging and complicating the FCC’s rulemaking process. It shifts the focus in rulemakings away from the public interest standard to a focus on the economic and regulatory interests of industry. This would be harmful to the protection role of the Commission.”