FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROCESS REFORM ACT OF 2012
(House of Representatives - March 27, 2012)

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[Pages H1609-H1624]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                              {time}  1530
      FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION PROCESS REFORM ACT OF 2012


                             General Leave

  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on the 
legislation and to insert extraneous materials on H.R. 3309.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Oregon?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 595 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 3309.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Kinzinger) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1533


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 3309) to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for 
greater transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the 
Federal Communications Commission, with Mr. Kinzinger in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden) and the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Eshoo) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Assembly, the 
communications and technology sector is one of the most competitive, 
innovative, and open sectors of our economy. From fiber optics to 4G 
wireless service, from the smartphone to the tablet, to the connected 
TV, this sector has been creating new services and new devices and high 
quality jobs that come with high-tech innovation and investment.
  Now, despite a lackluster economy, wire line, wireless, and cable 
providers invested $66 billion in broadband infrastructure in 2010. The 
U.S. is now leading in the cutting-edge wireless technologies. If we 
want this to continue, though, we need to avoid needless bureaucratic 
red tape and fix broken processes at the FCC.
  Communications and technology companies and the public deserve a more 
transparent and responsive government agency, and that's exactly what 
the legislation before us now would accomplish, bringing transparency, 
bringing accountability to the Federal Communications Commission.
  The bill is the fruit of the Energy and Commerce's own open and 
transparent process. Last May we invited the commissioners of the FCC 
to testify about improving their processes, and we heard from them 
about the process problems that have occurred at the agency when it's 
been headed by chairs from both parties. This is not about this 
commission. It may be about a prior commission, but it's about a 
systemic problem.
  In June, staff released a discussion draft, and we held a legislative 
hearing with a diverse panel of experts representing industry, think-
tanks, consumer groups, academia, and the States. We listened to what 
they had to say about the various ideas that were on the table, and we 
began to work to modify those ideas into something that was workable.
  In response to the views presented at the hearings, as well as 
additional input from stakeholders and colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle, we refined the draft legislation.
  Then, in November, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology 
held an open markup of the bill at the subcommittee level. The text is 
there. Everybody had a chance to see it, everybody had a chance to work 
on it and amend it.
  Earlier this month, the committee marked up the bill, the full 
committee did, with several bipartisan amendments that continued to 
improve the FCC processes. So, in large part, the FCC Process Reform 
Act asked the FCC to go through a process similar to what we just went 
through in the committee, on the Energy and Commerce Committee, to 
actually craft this reform legislation. And then we asked the FCC to 
implement the kinds of reforms that we implemented in this very House 
to avoid abuses that had taken place in the past.

  Now, the FCC regularly issues final decisions without giving the 
public an opportunity to even review the text that they're considering. 
I want you to think about that for a moment. They actually issue final 
decisions without giving the public an opportunity to review the text.
  We don't operate that way in the House, at least not anymore. The 
transition team that Speaker Boehner asked me to chair after the last 
election adopted a requirement that people have time to read the bill. 
A 3-day layover provision's in place in this House now so that the 
public has a chance to read the bills, we have a chance to read the 
bills, the press corps in the gallery behind us has a chance to read 
the bills.
  What's wrong with asking a Federal agency that writes regulations 
that affect one of the most dynamic industry in our Nation--what's 
wrong with asking them to make their text available? We do that in this 
legislation.
  Let me tell you part of the problem here. Last October, the agency 
introduced more than 100 new documents into the record of its universal 
service proceeding in the last few days of public comment. Giving the 
public as few as 2 days to comment on thousands of pages of new data 
isn't right. These are some of the drafts of documents right here 
behind me in these binders. Can you imagine, in 2 days, you're supposed 
to evaluate everything there?
  As the president and CEO of the Wireless Association said, there are 
other elements of H.R. 3309, such as the provision aimed at preventing 
data dumps--this we would call a data dump--right before an item goes 
on sunshine, that would represent significant improvement in the 
regulatory process. Sensible regulatory policies can contribute to the 
wireless industry's ability to continue serving as a catalyst for 
innovation, economic growth, and job creation.
  So we're trying to get the commission not to do data dumps, to be 
more transparent. The bill would require the FCC to provide the public 
a minimum amount of time to review filings and

[[Page H1610]]

comment on proposed rules. It is your business, after all. The agency 
ought to let you have a chance to participate.
  Now, unlike executive agencies, these are the ones under the direct 
command and control of the President of the United States. The FCC 
never assesses the costs and benefits of regulations. Not required to, 
so they don't do it always. They can, but they don't.
  Now, President Obama issued an Executive order that required 
executive agencies to actually assess costs and benefits of every 
single regulation they issue. That's from the President of the United 
States. And his Executive order requires a more stringent test for 
major rules. These are the ones affecting the economy in the area of, 
like, $100 million.
  The FCC is not one of those executive agencies. It does not have to 
follow what the President of the United States tells the other agencies 
to do because it's an independent agency. So everything the President's 
asking all the other agencies to do, in this legislation we're saying, 
FCC, you should do it as well.
  Now, President Obama appointed a jobs council. How do we make America 
more competitive? How do we improve the processes that really drive 
economic growth?
  That jobs council called on this Congress last year to require 
independent agencies like the Federal Communications Commission to 
actually conduct a cost-benefit analysis before putting more red tape 
on industry. Go find out what it's going to cost to do what you propose 
to do.
  Now, I want to make it clear. We didn't require the FCC to do the 
more onerous test that the President requires. The bill is less onerous 
than his own Executive order because it takes a lighter touch 
regulation applied to all regulations and applies it to the FCC's major 
rules. So we ratchet it down.
  We're not trying to overburden this agency, but if every other agency 
of the government can do a cost-benefit analysis and even do a higher, 
more sophisticated level, what's wrong with asking the Federal 
Communications Commission to do a light-touch review of costs and 
benefits?
  And you'll hear arguments that this is all brand new stuff, that it's 
never been done before, can't be done. By golly, we're going to 
litigate for 15 years. The whole world's going to end.
  Look, this uses language right out of President Obama's order. The 
bill requires for major rules ``a reasoned determination that the 
benefits of the adopted rule, or the amendment of an existing rule, 
justify its costs, recognizing that some benefits and costs are 
difficult to quantify.'' That's in our language. It's also in the 
President's language, taking into account alternative forms of 
regulation and the need to tailor regulation to impose the least burden 
on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives.

                              {time}  1540

  Virtually all of that language I just read to you is what the 
President of the United States has put as a requirement on the Agencies 
over which he has direct control. We're saying the FCC is under our 
control as an independent Agency. We're sort of the mother ship for the 
FCC as the Congress. It's up to us to carry out these provisions. 
They're good public-policy changes.
  The FCC has a substantial backlog that affects small businesses and 
consumers--4,984 petitions, 3,950 applications that are more than 2 
years old. All across the country people have been asking the FCC to 
take actions, to solve things, to come to decisions. They do it in a 
clouded, behind-the-curtain sort of way. And you sit on the outside as 
the public trying to grow jobs, invest and innovate, and you wait. You 
wait.
  Two years is a lifetime for an entrepreneur in the communications 
marketplace. My wife and I were small business owners for 22 years. We 
were broadcasters. We've been before the FCC. We're not in that 
business anymore, been out of it since December of '07. So this isn't 
about me, except I've witnessed what you have to deal with so I'm 
trying to fix it here. 1,083 consumer complaints are more than 2 years 
old. The FCC has done nothing on them.
  The bill requires the FCC, therefore, to set shot clocks for 
decisions so the public will know when to expect an answer. We don't 
tell them the length of those shot clocks or how they should be done. 
We're just saying look at your workload and give the public a gauge of 
when you will reach a decision. You decide the decision. You decide how 
long those shot clocks will be because you know better in terms of the 
management flow of your workload what's appropriate, but set some 
timelines.
  In recent years, the FCC has leveraged its authority to review 
transactions to accomplish unrelated policy goals and insulate its 
rulemakings from judicial review. Now, what does that mean? It does so 
through last-minute side deals with applicants that are often not 
disclosed until just a few days or even hours before the FCC approves a 
deal. One problem with these voluntary commitments is they're not 
voluntary.
  If you're trying to get the FCC to approve your transfer of license, 
the FCC, in recent years, has used that approval authority to go way 
beyond any statutory authority they have to issue rules in an area and 
they hold you hostage. Outside of the portals, we'd call it extortion, 
probably. Because what they do is say, look, we only have authority 
here to decide on transferring your license, that's true. Yeah, we're 
looking at that. But we want you to go off here and agree to do all 
these other things--over which we have no authority to mandate that you 
do them. We could not do a rulemaking if we wanted to because we don't 
have the authority under the statute to do it. But, by the way--wink, 
nod, twist your arm--if you don't, and you don't call it voluntary, 
then you can probably kiss this merger good-bye.
  I don't think that's an appropriate role for the Federal Government. 
Nobody in this Chamber should support that kind of activity; and yet if 
you oppose this bill, in effect you're supporting that activity.
  Now, I know there are some companies out there who aren't real wild 
about this because they see this as an ability to affect their 
competitors. Because they say, oh, that's great, we'll twist them at 
the FCC and we'll force them to do things the FCC couldn't force them 
to do on their own absent a merger or condition outside of their 
regulatory and legal authorities, and we'll get a little edge in the 
market, we'll put our finger on the scale. That's what happens. That 
should stop.
  Some argue we should not treat the FCC differently from other 
Agencies. Well, in effect, that's what's happening today. Every other 
Agency is being directed by the President of the United States to do 
these things we're directing it to do through this legislation. But 
because it is different, it is an independent Agency, none of what the 
President is suggesting can be applied to the independent Agency.
  Now, they say, well, we're going to do this on our own. Well, they 
may. And, frankly, the chairman of the FCC right now, Julius 
Genachowski--I've spent a lot of time talking to him--he has done some 
really excellent reforms. But the day he leaves and a new chairman 
comes in, all those could be wiped out. I think this needs to be in 
statute so we have good processes and procedures going forward, 
regardless of who controls what around the FCC in the future.
  The FCC does act differently. Now, the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, known as FERC, is a similar independent Agency, but it 
doesn't operate this way. It actually puts the text of its proposed 
rules out for the public to see before it votes on it. It actually 
builds its case before it makes its decision.
  We have an issue going on right now where I've asked the FCC to give 
me the document they actually voted on as part of this effort on the 
Universal Service Fund rewrite versus what came out the back end when 
they were finished weeks later: 751 pages of regulations. They won't 
give me documents. You see, it changed behind the curtain. They 
circulate it around in private. They edit it. They've issued their 
press release and said, here's what we're doing, and then they change 
it. And then you wait. So the public doesn't have a chance to see what 
they're actually considering until it's too late and it's final. I 
think that's wrong.
  Both sides of the aisle are for institutional reform at the FCC. 
Former White House adviser Philip Weiser said

[[Page H1611]]

that the agency ``is in dire need of institutional reform.'' State 
commissioners have been calling for the reform of the FCC rulemaking 
process for years. In fact, the National Association of Regulatory 
Utility Commissioners--these are the people who are looking out for the 
ratepayers and the consumers; that is their job--endorses several 
provisions of this bill, including the actual language of the proposed 
rule be published for comment; specify a 60-day comment cycle; mandate 
that all commissioners have adequate time to review any draft decision 
before voting on it; and on and on. This is good, solid government 
reform legislation.
  It does not protect the status quo. It does not say to the FCC, keep 
doing what you're doing, you're doing it great. Because some of us came 
here to change how the Federal Government operates in Washington to 
open up the process and make it more accountable and transparent. 
That's what this legislation does.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3309.
  Essentially, this bill guts the Federal Communications Commission, 
the FCC, by requiring new onerous process requirements which will 
result in an Agency that's less effective, less agile, and less 
transparent, the opposite direction, I think, of where we all want to 
go.
  As ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications and 
Technology, I want to thank the chairman for the work that he has done 
with us. He has always been very respectful, and the process I think 
has been a good one.
  Democrats support modernizing the FCC because we want to enable the 
Agency to operate with increased openness and transparency, as I said. 
But, unfortunately, the bill doesn't accomplish these goals. Over the 
past year, our subcommittee has heard from countless industry 
representatives, administrative law experts, and public interest 
advocates; but there aren't any public interest advocates that support 
this bill, which I think in and of itself is instructive.

                              {time}  1550

  Amongst those experts the chairman mentioned is Phil Weiser, dean of 
the University of Colorado Law School, who is often cited and who has 
implied that adopting some of his proposed reforms is the way to go; 
but Dean Weiser tells us ``passing this law would be a grave mistake.''
  Yet, despite the feedback of a bipartisan group of administrative law 
experts who suggested that this legislation could tie up the FCC in 15 
years of litigation--that's a real job creator for lawyers--the House 
is going to vote today on this, on a bill which requires unique 
statutory mandates that apply only to the FCC, thus altering the way in 
which the FCC reviews transactions and exposing the Agency to new 
litigation risks.
  H.R. 3309 mandates that the FCC undertake a cost-benefit analysis of 
any rule with ``economically significant impact.'' This requirement 
ignores the fact that the FCC already takes into account the impact of 
its rules on small businesses. Then to add insult to injury, the CBO 
estimates that, if enacted, H.R. 3309 would cost $26 million and 
require the agency to hire an additional 20 employees to handle the new 
rulemaking, reporting, and analysis activities required under the bill.
  The chairman has said, well, it's a fee-driven agency. Fees from 
businesses? Fees from anywhere. It's still going to cost $26 million 
more and will add more to the bureaucracy that I think the majority 
really doesn't have much affection for. For nearly 80 years, the FCC 
has operated as an independent agency, responsible for regulating 
interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, 
satellite, and cable. By most accounts, the FCC continues to innovate 
and implement reforms. The chairman was very gracious to outline what 
Chairman Genachowski has done under his leadership, including removing 
120 obsolete regulations, drastically reducing the number of pending 
applications, and taking steps to increase transparency and stakeholder 
participation.
  So, for all of these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I don't believe that H.R. 
3309 is the solution, and that's why I am urging my colleagues to 
oppose this legislation even though there are some parts of it that I 
support. We need to ensure that the FCC's ability remains to protect 
consumers and to ensure a competitive marketplace in the years to come.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I now yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois, the original cosponsor of this legislation, Mr. Kinzinger.
  Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for 
the time to speak on this very important piece of legislation.
  Having the opportunity to help lead the effort in committee and now 
on the House floor to get FCC process reform passed is something I am 
passionate about because I feel that this legislation will make great 
strides towards improving the predictability, efficiency, and 
transparency of the FCC and its operations.
  A common theme I've witnessed throughout my time here in Congress is 
that of bureaucrats coming up with solutions in search of problems. In 
terms of the FCC in particular, I feel that they sometimes do so 
without following a standard set of procedures, statutory law, or 
regulatory guidelines. I believe this can be seen in some of the recent 
mergers in which certain concessions have been extracted from the 
concerned parties in order to push the wills of those at the 
Commission. This is not the way to run what should be an open and 
transparent rulemaking process.
  Government transparency is a major key to gaining the trust of the 
public, and this legislation will put into place some really 
commonsense reforms. Key among those is telling the FCC that they must 
publish the specific text of the proposed rules for all to see before 
the adoption of those rules. They must also allow enough time for the 
public to comment on those proposed rules so that their voices can also 
be heard.
  I have seen that Chairman Genachowski has made some very good 
progress in implementing much of what is in this legislation, but the 
fact of the matter is that many of those efforts are done at his 
discretion and are no longer in place when he leaves. Statutory and 
regulatory authority should be what moves the decisionmaking process of 
the FCC, and I believe the efforts of this bill will put the FCC in 
line with the intent of Congress.
  Ms. ESHOO. At this time, I yield 5 minutes to the ranking member of 
the full committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Waxman).
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, today the House is taking 
up H.R. 3309, which the Republicans say is a modest proposal to make 
the Agency operate more efficiently. I could not disagree more 
strongly. This bill would not reform the FCC. It would disable it.
  The bill erects procedural hurdles that make it more difficult for 
the FCC to protect consumers. It strips the FCC of its power to ensure 
that mergers between telecommunications companies are in the public 
interest. If this bill is enacted, it would stymie the ability of the 
Agency to do much of anything except to produce reports for Congress. 
Although I have many problems with the bill, I have three major 
concerns I want to highlight.
  First, it creates a new set of procedures for the FCC. For more than 
65 years, the Administrative Procedure Act has governed administrative 
agencies across the Federal Government. This bill creates a special 
procedural set of rules for the FCC alone. Let me give you an example.
  The bill requires the FCC to include in every notice of proposed 
rulemaking the specific language of the proposed rule. Although this 
should be a best practice--and the Genachowski FCC does it 86 percent 
of the time--it makes no sense to strip the Agency of flexibility and 
require it to do it in every instance.
  Just last week, the FCC adopted unanimously a notice of proposed 
rulemaking on interoperability requirements in the 700 megahertz 
spectrum. It did this without including the specific language of 
proposed rules. As Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell stated, it 
made sense to refrain from including draft rules because ``putting 
forth proposed rules at

[[Page H1612]]

this delicate stage may only distort the private sector's creative 
process.'' He added that the open-ended nature of the notice allows the 
Commission to ``elicit greater insight regarding the costs and 
technical feasibility of potential implementation.''

  Administrative law experts have ridiculed the provisions of this 
bill. One said: ``Why would anyone want to tie the Agency up in knots 
like this and subject it to endless challenges?'' Another told us that 
industry lawyers would have a ``field day'' in challenging and in 
delaying FCC actions. Other experts told us it could take 15 years of 
litigation for the courts to clarify the meaning of the new 
requirements in the bill.
  Even the Congressional Budget Office agrees that this bill would wrap 
the FCC up in red tape. According to CBO, the Agency ``would require 20 
additional staff positions to handle the new rulemaking, reporting, and 
analysis activities required under the bill.''
  Secondly, this legislation alters fundamentally the way in which the 
FCC reviews transactions to ensure that they are in the public 
interest. Under current law, the FCC is directed to protect the public 
interest when reviewing proposed mergers. This bill would curtail this 
authority significantly. The bill strips the FCC of its authority to 
require merger conditions that promote broadband adoption, require 
minimum broadband speeds, require the repatriation of jobs from 
overseas, or ensure broadband coverage in rural or low-income areas. 
Conditions to protect smaller companies from harm could also fall by 
the wayside.
  This is not process reform but is a fundamental assault on the FCC's 
authority to protect the public interest.
  Finally, H.R. 3309 gives telephone, cable, or wireless companies vast 
new tools to tie the Agency up in litigation for years if they don't 
like what the Agency is doing. It does this by making all the 
regulatory analyses that accompany a regulation subject to judicial 
review.

                              {time}  1600

  Well, if it's AT or Verizon or some other company that's subject to 
a regulation, they could sue the Agency on the grounds that the cost-
benefit analysis was deficient or the analysis of the market failure 
was inadequate or the Agency failed to consider alternatives to 
regulation. These lawsuits, which no other Agency in government would 
face, could effectively paralyze the FCC.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Schock). The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Ms. ESHOO. I yield the gentleman an additional 15 seconds.
  Mr. WAXMAN. Democrats want to work with House Republicans to develop 
bipartisan Federal communications policies to help our economy and the 
American public and to make sure the FCC is doing its job. But we can't 
do this when the only proposals that are brought to the House floor 
would turn the FCC watchdog into a lapdog for industry. We should stop 
wasting time on ideological fights and start cooperating together. 
Otherwise, this will be another House-passed bill that will not go 
anywhere in the other body, will not become law; and it is for good 
reason that it shouldn't.
  Mr. WALDEN. Before I yield to the vice chairman of the subcommittee, 
I just want to make a couple of corrections here to at least explain 
things.
  The Federal Communications Commission would still have the public 
interest standard that it has today to deny a transfer if it's not in 
the public interest. We don't take that away. We don't take that away.
  And on interoperability, the ranking member talked about this 
interoperability standard the Commission is now taking up. Ironically, 
that actually was first raised as part of a request by some to include 
in the AT merger. Instead, the Commission actually did the 
right thing. It, in effect, is doing a notice of inquiry. It says, 
Before we do draft rules, let's go out and survey the marketplace and 
find out what the issues are. Then the next logical step is to come 
back with a notice of proposed rulemaking, i.e., the draft rules. This 
is what we are suggesting occur as regular practice as a result of this 
legislation.
  Now I would yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. 
Terry), the distinguished vice chair of the subcommittee.
  Mr. TERRY. I thank the chairman.
  Mr. Chairman, may I submit that my friend, who just spoke on the 
other side, maybe was a victim of some poor staff work that took some 
liberties to revise and extend the real bill that we are debating here 
today because, frankly, the reforms here are fairly practical and 
necessary.
  What this really does is puts into the process of developing rules 
some simple changes that we think are reasonably necessary, keeping in 
mind that transparency is the key. So, for example, let's take the 
recent USF reform rule that came out. I have been active in USF, Mr. 
Chairman, for several years trying to get some of these reforms done 
through Congress. It was taken up through the FCC process. I was 
anxious to see the proposed rule and was very disappointed when it was 
basically a rough outline of what turned out to be then passed. Then 
several days later, or weeks later, the full order came out, 750 pages.
  Now, don't you think that if you are going to vote on a proposed rule 
that you would know what the rule says before you vote on it? It seems 
rather simple, and I would expect that people that are watching this 
debate would think that a bureaucracy issuing a proposed rule, that 
there would actually be a transcript of the rule. So we're just asking 
for simple things like that.
  And last, during this proposed rule, there's a time for comment. And 
at the end of the comment period this last time--and this is why a shot 
clock is really necessary--the FCC then dumped volumes of documents 
that it said it was going to use as evidence in this process, giving 
people 48 hours.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. WALDEN. I yield the gentleman an additional 15 seconds.
  Mr. TERRY. The only ones that are least disadvantaged by that are the 
biggest entities that have a houseful of lawyers that could go over it 
and read it. Rural Nebraska doesn't have the opportunity to do that and 
reply. So giving them sufficient time to review that just makes common 
sense.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, earlier the chairman of the subcommittee 
said that the bill doesn't change the public interest standard for 
reviewing mergers. That simply is not the case. The bill does change 
it. It alters the ability of the FCC to impose conditions for the 
public interest, which is a very serious issue.
  I would now like to yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan 
(Mr. Dingell), the chairman emeritus of the Energy and Commerce 
Committee and dean of the House of Representatives.
  (Mr. DINGELL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Chairman, I will begin by praising my good friend, 
the chairman of the subcommittee. It is just that he has brought us a 
bad piece of legislation. It should be rejected instantly by the House 
of Representatives because it does nothing to help anything. I refer to 
the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act, which it is 
not.
  Time and time again, we Democrats accuse our Republican colleagues of 
passing bills that are in search of problems. I would like to say that 
this is the same. But worse than that, I can say that we have before us 
a bill that is a prime example of trying to cure the disease and kill 
the patient at the same time.
  In point of fact, H.R. 3309 would take the FCC entirely out of the 
Administrative Procedure Act and make it subject to a unique set of 
procedural requirements totally understood by no one. And there will 
have to be a bunch of lawyers hired, as the gentleman from Nebraska has 
pointed out, because they're sure going to need them to understand what 
has been done.
  Everybody in this Chamber should have real fears about turning over 
60 years of solid administrative jurisprudence and standing it on its 
head and how that will bring about disastrous results not only to the 
Commission but to all of the entities regulated by that body, because 
nobody is going to understand what this has done.
  Mr. Chairman, Charles James Fox wrote something called the ``India 
Resolution'' in 1783. It goes as follows: ``Resolved, that we have seen 
your work, and it will not do.'' H.R. 3309 evokes the same sorry 
sentiment.

[[Page H1613]]

  My friends on the other side of the aisle like reminding me that no 
Democrat has been a bigger critic of the FCC than I have. They're 
right. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with what they've 
proposed to do in H.R. 3309. Instead of passing a bad bill which they 
don't understand, on which no adequate hearings have been held, and on 
which the industry is scared to death, we should get down to the 
business of having decent proceedings in which we would go into this 
matter thoroughly as a matter of oversight, to compel the Commission to 
come forward to address the question of their accountability, of their 
transparency, and of their regulatory consistency.
  This Commerce Committee has skinned many cats in my days with that 
authority, and by the great horn spoon, we could do it again. But we 
shouldn't come on the floor waving a silly bill like this around which 
is going to do nothing to benefit society and which the committee 
doesn't understand and cannot explain.
  Now, if I have got any time left, I will yield to my friend from 
Oregon.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. WALDEN. If the gentleman would yield, the only comment I would 
make is, we did have hearings on this legislation.
  Mr. DINGELL. Of course, but they didn't relate to the matters that 
you have brought before the House at this time. You can't explain 
what's in this bill, and nobody here knows what it does.

                              {time}  1610

  Mr. WALDEN. We can easily explain the bill. We know what's in it. 
We've had a lot of work on it. We've done public hearings. We've 
listened to people. We've modified it to accommodate some of the great 
suggestions we have. We have bipartisan pieces in this bill. And the 
Commission still has the authority to deny transfers of broadcast 
license. They just can't go outside of their statutory authority to 
promulgate rules and kind of grab other issues and force people to do 
things that they couldn't do under their statutory authority.
  I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey).
  Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of 
H.R. 3309, the FCC Process Reform Act, and I would like to take a 
moment to commend Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman 
Greg Walden for his leadership on this legislation and his diligent 
work in moving it through regular order.
  Among the many reasons that it is necessary to make statutory reforms 
at the FCC, I would like to speak to one particular aspect of this 
legislation that I think is critically important to improving the way 
in which the FCC operates.
  H.R. 3309 will require the FCC to establish shot clocks to set 
timelines to compel the Commission to act. Under current law, where 
shot clocks are not compulsory, inconsistencies at the FCC continue to 
plague the telecommunications industry and have placed unnecessary 
burdens on our job creators. For example, there's an Atlanta-based 
company by the name of Cbeyond that specializes in providing IT and 
communications services to small businesses across the country. They 
employ, Mr. Chairman, approximately 1,600 people, and like many 
employers within the industry, they're forced to wait on the whims of 
the FCC. Unfortunately, many case proceedings linger for years with no 
resolution, and this stifles growth for companies within the 
telecommunications industry.
  Just over 2 years ago, I, along with our former colleague and now 
Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, sent a letter to the FCC asking that 
they look closely at broadband infrastructure initiatives that would 
bolster one of our greatest assets for economic recovery--small 
businesses. In that letter we referenced a petition filed in November 
of 2009 that is now part of an FCC proceeding commonly referred to as 
the Business Broadband Docket, which is a proceeding focused on 
broadband infrastructure used to serve small businesses. Mr. Chairman, 
both the petition and the Business Broadband Docket remain pending at 
the FCC--not only with no resolution, but also no movement toward any 
conclusion.
  This behavior by the FCC is unacceptable and has occurred under both 
Democrats and Republicans. This anecdote highlights the need for a shot 
clock placed on the FCC. Not only do these shot clocks need to be 
established, but they also need to be honored. This alone will make the 
FCC work in a more efficient manner by creating more regulatory 
certainty in the telecommunications industry.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support establishing a shot clock at 
the FCC and support H.R. 3309.

                                Congress of the United States,

                                Washington, DC, February 16, 2010.
     Julius Genachowski,
     Federal Communications Commission,
     12th Street, SW., Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Genachowski, As you know, the American 
     Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires the FCC to develop a 
     national plan to ensure that all Americans have access to 
     broadband and the FCC must deliver its plan to Congress by 
     March 17, 2010. The plan also must provide a strategy for 
     achieving maximum utilization of broadband infrastructure and 
     greater affordability of the service for all Americans.
       As our country grapples with the worst unemployment numbers 
     we have faced in decades, it is critical that we do all we 
     can to assist small businesses, the driving force of our 
     economy. Yet continuing to add to the deficit is not the 
     solution. The proposal Mr. Geiger outlines in the attached 
     Opinion Editorial would not require any additional federal 
     spending, and incumbent local exchange carriers would be 
     permitted to provide access to competitors at retail rate.
       This proposal would allow telecom innovators to gain access 
     to the bandwidth necessary to push efficiency-enhancing, 
     cloud-based applications to small businesses, applications 
     such as virtualized desktops, hosted digital image and file 
     management, high-resolution video conferencing, broadcast/
     live video streaming, robust data protection, cloud-based 
     backup, and sophisticated video security systems. These 
     advanced applications would lower start-up costs for small 
     businesses and enable them to implement their business plans, 
     innovate and create jobs. At the same time, the incumbent 
     local exchange carriers would sell more bandwidth at the same 
     prices as they sell to any other customer.
       The National Broadband Plan presents an opportunity for the 
     FCC to bolster one of our nation's greatest assets for 
     economic recovery--small business. As members of the House 
     Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over 
     this issue, we are hopeful that the FCC's National Broadband 
     Plan will include broadband initiatives which will 
     specifically address the broadband needs of our small 
     business community.
           Sincerely,
     Nathan Deal,
       Member of Congress.
     Phil Gingrey,
       Member of Congress.
                                  ____


         [From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 20, 2009]

            Opinion: A Cashless Stimulus for Small Business

                            (By Jim Geiger)

       With the unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent and 
     our economy still mired in recession, we need our small 
     business innovators and job creators now more than ever. Yet 
     another round of fiscal stimulus shouldn't be the only 
     option, particularly when recent polls indicate many 
     Americans are growing increasingly wary of adding more to the 
     deficit and our national debt.
       So what else can the Obama administration do to help small 
     businesses? Simple: the government can quickly adopt a few 
     sensible rule changes that will unlock the job-creating 
     potential of broadband businesses and drive market-based 
     investment in innovative technology. Call it a ``cashless 
     stimulus.''
       The problem is that small businesses lack access to the 
     most effective telecommunications applications--those used 
     routinely used by larger firms. Why? The existing regulatory 
     structure allows the big phone companies to preserve market 
     share by denying competitors access to fairly priced 
     bandwidth. The result is that the companies best able to 
     build the innovative applications small businesses need to 
     grow and compete are unable to access the bandwidth necessary 
     to deliver those applications.
       I should know: my company, Cbeyond, provides broadband 
     applications exclusively to small businesses. Back in 1996, 
     Congress enacted far-sighted legislation that promoted 
     competition in the telecom markets, and that action drove 
     years of investment, innovation and growth across our 
     industry. New competitors introduced small businesses to 
     innovative technologies that the Bell providers had 
     deliberately delayed deploying for fear of undermining the 
     monopoly profits they made from slower, older technologies.
       But the age of innovation and investment in broadband 
     technology ended several years ago. The Bush administration 
     adopted rules that had the perverse effect of locking small 
     businesses into the broadband status quo of six years ago, 
     undercutting the normal business cycle of innovation and 
     denying small businesses benefits they should have received 
     as broadband technology improved. These rules leave the 
     rollout of the best broadband technologies almost exclusively

[[Page H1614]]

     to the large enterprise customers; telecom competitors--the 
     companies that were once the catalysts of innovation--are 
     left trying to serve small businesses, the jobs engine of our 
     economy, with antiquated technology.
       For example, because the Bells hoard the bandwidth they 
     control, small businesses cannot hope to match large 
     enterprises in the emerging field of cloud computing. Nor do 
     current FCC rules allow small businesses the efficiencies and 
     cost-savings of high-resolution video conferencing, highly 
     secure data protection and sophisticated video security 
     systems.
       Broadband applications like these don't get delivered to 
     small businesses because the most innovative competitors are 
     denied access to the bandwidth necessary to support them. 
     Small businesses have no choice but to try to use 20th 
     century business tools to create new jobs in a 21st century 
     global marketplace.
       This is not a minor issue. Small businesses inject almost a 
     trillion dollars into the economy each year. They have 
     created more than 93 percent of all new jobs over the last 
     twenty years and employ more than half of the U.S. workforce. 
     They also employ 41 percent of the nation's high-tech workers 
     who generate about thirteen times more patents per employee 
     than do workers at large firms.
       Hence the opportunity for the administration to adopt a 
     ``cashless stimulus'': the FCC can fix this problem simply 
     and almost without cost. The FCC should require the Bell 
     monopolies to sell--at retail prices--the bandwidth necessary 
     for competitors like Cbeyond to provide next generation 
     broadband applications to small businesses.
       With new broadband rules in place, services like cloud 
     computing could replace high-end desktop computers. Small 
     businesses could look to carriers for affordable, offsite 
     data security instead of paying more for on-site services. 
     Reliance on expensive and inefficient travel for in-person 
     meetings would give way to high-resolution video 
     conferencing. Start-up costs for small businesses would fall 
     as the hardware necessary for running their operations moved 
     off the business premise and into the cloud. The list goes on 
     and on.
       It's time we took advantage of the one approach to economic 
     recovery that doesn't come with a long-term economic cost.

  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I would like to inquire how much time we 
have remaining.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Yoder). The gentlewoman from California has 
17\1/4\ minutes remaining. The gentleman from Oregon has 9\1/4\ minutes 
remaining.
  Ms. ESHOO. Thank you.
  At this time, I yield 4 minutes to a very distinguished and valued 
member of the subcommittee, Mr. Doyle of Pennsylvania.
  Mr. DOYLE. Thank you to my colleague and friend, Anna Eshoo, the 
ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, for 
yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 3309, the FCC 
Process Reform Act. This legislation would place severe procedural 
burdens on the FCC at a time when telecommunications is such a major 
part of the lives of my constituents and the American public. H.R. 3309 
would create harmful restrictions on the FCC's ability to enact 
consumer protections, and it could also limit the Agency's ability to 
respond to communications-related emergencies and cybersecurity 
threats.
  One of the restrictions imposed by H.R. 3309 is a requirement that 
the FCC issue a Notice of Inquiry before the Agency begins work on an 
actual rulemaking unless the FCC can demonstrate that a Notice of 
Inquiry is not necessary. A Notice of Inquiry, Mr. Chairman, is 
basically an information-gathering exercise that lets the public know 
about the FCC's intention to examine an issue and collects initial 
comments from stakeholders. While in many cases a Notice of Inquiry is 
a very important part of the FCC's rulemaking process, a congressional 
mandate to conduct a Notice of Inquiry in every FCC proceeding would be 
an enormous procedural burden for the Agency.
  Mr. Chairman, I'm concerned that the potential impacts of this 
legislation have not been fully considered.
  If I could, I would like to share just one example of the harmful 
potential consequences this legislation would have, even for bipartisan 
goals.
  Last year, Congress enacted a bill that I authored to create more 
community-run radio stations around the country. This bill was broadly 
supported by both sides of the aisle because so many of our 
constituents will benefit from more news reporting on local issues and 
emergency responses. The FCC is currently implementing that law and 
expects to open a window for radio station licensing sometime next 
year. But provisions in H.R. 3309, such as the requirement for a Notice 
of Inquiry, could slow down the implementation of this law and many 
other rulemakings by several years by adding procedural hurdles for the 
Agency to jump through before it can implement rules.
  In the case of my legislation, the FCC would have to delay its 
licensing window because of an unnecessary Notice of Inquiry, forcing 
communities to wait longer to get their new radio stations. I think 
most people would find this kind of delay very frustrating. And this is 
just one example, Mr. Chairman. In the case of more contentious policy 
issues, this bill would create years, maybe decades of deadlock at the 
FCC.
  Mr. Chairman, we don't have to look very far this week to witness 
that our Nation's laws and regulations are already been extensively 
litigated in the court. This legislation would open up the FCC's 
process to even further litigation, and it would severely limit the 
FCC's ability to protect consumers and create new rules.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, before I yield to my colleague from New 
Hampshire, I just want to point out that we're not quite understanding 
the bill here on the other side because we do allow the FCC to maintain 
flexibility where necessary. The bill only requires the Notice of 
Inquiry on new rulemakings. The requirement does not apply to 
deregulatory rulemakings. And the FCC may waive the Notice of Inquiry 
in emergencies or where conducting both a Notice of Inquiry and a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would be unfeasible.
  So we tried to put some balance in here. But what's wrong with having 
the FCC, even in that case as raised by Mr. Doyle, take 60 days? They 
can decide how long this is and go out survey the market and say what 
effect and what are the issues and then come back and then they write 
their rules. It's like us having a hearing. This isn't a burdensome 
requirement.
  I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. Bass).
  Mr. BASS of New Hampshire. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from 
Oregon for yielding to me. He's a cosponsor of this legislation. I'm 
pleased that the House is considering it. It's important to reform 
procedures at the FCC.
  H.R. 3309 will improve the transparency, fairness, and consistency of 
this regulatory agency with oversight over telecommunications and 
technology and will provide certainty to these markets that are so 
critical to our Nation's economic recovery and growth. Indeed, over the 
past 8 years, landline, wireless, and cable providers have vested more 
than half a trillion dollars in broadband infrastructure. This 
investment has created countless jobs for our Nation and has positively 
affected our economy many times over.
  H.R. 3309 contains the commonsense and nonpartisan thrust of ensuring 
transparency and accountability of unelected bureaucrats by applying 
the regulatory reform principles endorsed by the President's own 
January, 2011 Executive order.
  Establishing clear timeframes for requiring the FCC to perform a cost 
benefit analysis before implementing new regulations will provide our 
Nation's small businesses and innovators with the regulatory certainty 
necessary to invest and create new jobs.
  I urge passage of this important legislation.
  Ms. ESHOO. At this time, I yield 3 minutes to the man that I call Mr. 
Telecommunications, the real expert in the House of Representatives, 
the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey).

                              {time}  1620

  Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentlelady so much.
  I think all of us on the Democratic side would agree that if there 
were a way to streamline and strengthen the FCC's procedures, and if we 
could find a way to improve the way in which it carries out its duties, 
well, we would support that. However, the aim of the Republican 
legislation is not to streamline the Federal Communications Commission; 
it is to straitjacket the Federal Communications Commission. This is a 
bill which would severely restrict the Commission's ability to operate 
effectively.

[[Page H1615]]

  If this bill becomes law, then the ``FCC'' would stand for ``Fully 
Constrained Commission''; and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the goal 
of the Republicans in this legislation. It would establish a separate 
administrative process to govern the FCC's internal operations that 
would be different from and more cumbersome than any other Agency's in 
the entire Federal Government, without producing any policy benefits.
  Now, we know who supports the bill. AT, big companies, they support 
this legislation. We also know who opposes this legislation. Every 
consumer group and every public interest group in the country says this 
is a particularly bad bill from a public interest perspective. But if 
you're AT, if you're a big company, you'll love this. This is going 
to tie the Commission in knots. You can continue to do whatever you 
feel like doing indefinitely because the Republicans have decided to 
create the most cumbersome--the most cumbersome--regulatory process of 
any Agency in this country.
  They're a model. They're pioneers here, the Republicans out here on 
the floor. They want to create the most modern ``redtape, tie them in 
knots'' agency possible with the hopes that other Federal Agencies 
would wind up emulating them. And it's going to be the first jobs bill 
that the Republicans have passed so far in this Congress because this 
bill is going to create so many jobs for lobbyists, so many jobs for 
lawyers, and so many jobs for all of the people who are now going to be 
put to work trying to untangle and untie this mess of a bill of a 
regulatory Agency that is going to be created by this process.
  So, ladies and gentlemen, this bill takes the public interest 
standard, the public benefits that have always been the test of whether 
or not the Agency can, in fact, make a decision that ensures that the 
interests of all Americans are being protected, and turns it into 
something which is going to wind up with a harmful, drastic departure 
from current law.
  This bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Vote ``no.''
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I've never heard a finer defense of a 
broken bureaucratic process than I've just heard.
  Let me point out that the National Association of Regulatory Utility 
Commissioners--now, these are the folks who stand up for consumers and 
ratepayers--again, support many of the proposals in this bill. 
Specifically, they point out that the minimum 60-day comment cycle is 
good, the mandate that all commissioners have adequate time to review 
any draft decision before voting on it is good, and to require the 
actual language of a proposed rule to be published for comment is a 
good idea.
  Again, the President's own Executive orders ask for these things in 
many cases to be done to the other Agencies, but he can't do it to this 
one. It's our job to do it here and to fix, reform, and drive for 
accountability and transparency against those who defend the 
bureaucracy as broken as it is.
  I now yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Tennessee, an 
extraordinary member of our subcommittee, Mrs. Blackburn.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I find it so interesting, as we are here debating this bill, that 
this is only a 21-page bill. And I don't find, Mr. Chairman, in this 
bill, I don't find the words ``constrained'' and ``straitjacket'' 
anywhere. It does not exist in this bill. And as I've heard my 
colleagues talk about this bill, I think that they have not read the 
bill. So, unlike the 2,300-page bill that is being debated at the 
Supreme Court across the street, I would encourage them to pick up this 
little 21-page bill and give it a read.
  I've also found it very interesting: the White House and this 
administration like to say transparency is the cornerstone of their 
administration, but I have seen them going to just extreme lengths, it 
seems, the White House and the Senate, to block bringing this process 
reform bill forward.
  Yesterday, the White House released its Statement of Administration 
Policy, saying, and I'm quoting: ``It is generally recognized that the 
FCC has improved its practices and procedures to make it more 
effective.''
  But the truth is, in the last 50 years, what we have seen is that 
their rules and regulations, their impact, their footprint, has grown 
800 percent--not doubled, not a little bit a year, 800 percent. That is 
why we need this bill, and I commend the chairman for bringing the bill 
forward.

  Let me tell you a few things that this bill does. I think that they 
are common sense. It would do a few things like allowing more time for 
public comments.
  Well, my constituents want more time to weigh in on these issues. As 
they find out about these issues, more time is a very good thing. 
Measuring the Agency's performance with scorecards, our children have 
report cards. Knowing where you are and what you're doing and what kind 
of goal you're trying to reach, that is very healthy. That is a good 
thing.
  Making sure the Agency doesn't attach extraneous regulations and 
conditions on business transactions, we're talking about jobs and the 
effect of regulation on jobs. It is such a positive thing to pull back 
regulation and free up free enterprise. That is what we should be about 
is making certain that we can move forward on these issues.
  Requiring the Agency to do cost-benefit analysis for rules that cost 
more than $100 million, well, how about that? Cost-benefit analysis. Is 
a rule going to be worth the cost? Is it going to be worth the effort, 
or is it going to be too expensive to afford?
  My goodness, we've had all sorts of things that they're too big to 
fail and too expensive to afford, so let's certainly make sure that we 
are evaluating these rules before they get put onto the books and 
before they have force of law. Let's make certain that we pass this 
reform bill.
  Ms. ESHOO. At this time, Mr. Chairman, I would like to yield 2 
minutes to the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Welch).
  Mr. WELCH. This is a bad bill. H.R. 3309 would create a special set 
of very vague and unique procedural hurdles for the FCC that apply to 
no other Agency. It will result in decades of litigation.
  We have to have simplicity, and we have to have clarity. This 
legislation will open up the floodgates of confusion.
  It significantly reduces the FCC's ability to take the public into 
account, and that is the fundamental interest that should be on the 
minds of this Congress.
  It provides endless routes for potentially misguided litigation 
making every single one of the FCC's regulatory analyses in support of 
a new rule, not just the rule itself, subject to judicial review. 
There's going to be regulation or not regulation. This legislation 
means there's endless litigation.
  These requirements would also amend the Communications Act to mandate 
how the Agency should operate internally, with detailed requirements 
for the most basic regulatory actions such as specific timelines 
associated with notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures. This is 
Congress micromanaging.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge the Congress to defeat this legislation.
  Mr. WALDEN. May I inquire as to the time remaining on each side?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon has 3\3/4\ minutes 
remaining, and the gentlewoman from California has 9\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. WALDEN. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas, the 
distinguished former chairman of the committee, my friend, Mr. Barton.
  (Mr. BARTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BARTON of Texas. I thank the distinguished subcommittee chairman.
  Texas Congressmen don't often quote Shakespeare, but I'm going to 
attempt it. There's a line in Hamlet that goes something to the effect: 
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

                              {time}  1630

  And my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle seem to be 
protesting too much. It's a very modest bill, 20-something pages in 
length. It's basically a good government bill.
  The bill basically says that the FCC, before they issue a rule, 
they've got to actually put it out for public comment for at least 30 
days. Then once they formalize it, they have to let people have another 
30 days to comment on what they actually are proposing.

[[Page H1616]]

  Subcommittee Chairman Walden circulated a draft bill. To my 
knowledge, he circulated it to the entire committee and to the industry 
and the stakeholders. I know in my case I had a few modest suggestions 
that were incorporated in the bill. Then when it went to subcommittee, 
I offered an amendment that was accepted.
  He did the same process at full committee.
  It came to the Rules Committee. I'm told that there were 10 
amendments that had been made in order, with eight of those by my 
friends on the Democratic side of the aisle. We'll have that debate and 
the vote on those later today or tomorrow.
  So here you have a very modest bill with good government transparency 
reporting that brings the FCC into the 21st century on how to do 
business, and you would think that we're going back to the dark ages. 
Nothing could be further from the truth.
  I'm in very strong support of the process, which is important, and 
also the policy and the legislation that has resulted from it. I would 
hope that on a bipartisan basis, at the appropriate time, we vote in 
the affirmative on H.R. 3309.
  It's a good piece of legislation. It can pass the Senate. It can be 
signed by the President, and it should be.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I would like to use some of our remaining 
time on this side to respond to several points that have been raised by 
my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
  First, while the majority argues that H.R. 3309 is only a ``light 
touch'' in making sure that the FCC follows the Obama Executive order 
on cost-benefit analysis, they failed to mention that such cost-benefit 
review is not judicially reviewable. That's a very important fact here.
  The Executive order states that it's ``not intended to and does not 
create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable, at 
law, or in equity by any party against the United States.''
  H.R. 3309, therefore, would create another avenue for appeal and 
litigation by corporate interests that oppose the FCC's efforts to take 
actions in the public interest, and no other Federal Agency would be 
subjected to such challenges. That's number one. That speaks to, I 
think, the public interest which, I think, is at the heart of what the 
FCC's responsibilities are.
  Second, Mr. Gingrey mentioned the shot clocks. There are 73 types of 
proceedings the FCC must consider, and each item can be, as we all know 
and anyone that is tuned in and listening to this knows, can be very 
complex. No wonder CBO estimated that H.R. 3309 would require the 
hiring of 20 additional employees.
  Thirdly, as the majority placed in the Record those that support the 
bill--even Mr. Markey spoke of some of the large telecommunication 
companies--I think it's important to set down for the record who 
opposes the bill and what they have to say about it.
  Bruce Gottlieb in the National Journal:

       Layering new procedural requirements on top of existing 
     ones would effectively halt the creation of nearly any 
     contentious new FCC rules--in other words, achieve a result 
     more or less like what Texas Governor Rick Perry had in mind 
     for the Commerce and Education Departments.

  Susan Crawford in Wired Magazine:

       Although the bill's proponents say they aim to make things 
     work more quickly at the FCC, the legislation will have the 
     opposite effect: it will make it very difficult for the FCC 
     to deal with any of the real-time telecom problems the 
     country faces. What the Republicans seem to want, at bottom, 
     is to grant the giant companies that sell us basic 
     communications capacity--an essential utility for the 21st 
     century--the ability to throw sand in the works at every 
     opportunity.

  From Philip Weiser, the dean at the University of Colorado Law 
School:

       I am against passing this bill, which would give rise to 
     unfortunate and unintended consequences that would undermine 
     the FCC's future effectiveness without providing any real 
     benefits.

  From the Consumers Union:

       The bill would require the FCC to adopt rules as long as 
     they do not impose an additional burden on industry. The bill 
     limits the FCC's ability to consider the public interest and 
     protect consumers when considering mergers.

  Mr. Chairman, this is no small item.
  Then the Public Interest Groups Coalition letter of February 9 of 
this year:

       These bills would severely hinder the FCC's ability to 
     carry out its congressional mandate to promote competition, 
     innovation, and the availability of communication services.

  With that, Mr. Chairman, I would like to inquire how much time we 
have left on our side.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California has 5\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Ms. ESHOO. I will reserve that time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Given the limited amount of time we have, I will reserve 
as well.
  Ms. ESHOO. I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman, as I 
don't have anymore speakers on the legislation.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 1\3/4\ 
minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN. I thank the Chairman.
  I appreciate the debate we've had today. I think it's been helpful. 
It hasn't always been enlightening, but it's been helpful.
  Again, I would point out that the National Association of Regulatory 
Utility Commissioners praises what we're doing in this bill and the 
points of requiring actual language to be available for people to see.
  All we're doing here is telling the FCC to operate like these other 
Agencies have been asked to operate by the President's jobs council and 
by the President's Executive order, but do so in a public and 
transparent way so that those who have business before the Commission 
know what the Commission is going to vote on before it votes or 
rewrites it and then puts it out later. Go out and survey the 
marketplace, decide if there's a harm, do a notice of inquiry, and get 
input like we do in hearings here, Mr. Chairman, and then propose rules 
and put those texts out there of those rules and let the public see.
  The great defenders of the bureaucracy, my friends, some of them on 
the other side of the aisle, say, Oh, you can't change anything in 
Washington.
  That's what we've heard for 40 years. Some of us came here to change 
Washington for the better. We did it when we changed the rules of the 
House at the beginning of this session to make our procedures more open 
and transparent.
  My friends on the other side of the aisle were part of the effort 
that crammed a 2,000-page bill through here with no amendments allowed 
on the floor, one of which is being argued today across the street at 
the Supreme Court. The Republicans were denied the opportunity to offer 
a single amendment on the health care takeover bill on the House floor. 
They were denied every single amendment when these bills would come to 
the floor at thousands of pages. We've changed how the House operates 
so that can't happen again.
  This bill is here under a modified open rule. The minority has 10 
amendments on the floor. We had open markups in subcommittee and full 
committee.
  What we're saying is we are here as Republicans to change Washington 
for the better. This bill does that. I urge your support.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to this 
bill. That is not to say that I am pleased with how this FCC has 
conducted its business.
  It has been slow and evasive when responding to inquiries from myself 
and my colleagues on important matters pending before the Commission.
  It has taken an activist approach to regulating, as we saw with their 
network neutrality proceeding.
  It wrongly squelched a merger that stopped an American company from 
acquiring a foreign owned competitor and then released proprietary and 
confidential information in what appeared to be an effort to salt the 
earth for any future attempts at a similar deal and influence the 
proceeding at the DOJ. This has set a troubling precedent.
  Not everything that this FCC has done is bad. While I opposed the 
Comcast/NBC merger, I am appreciative that the FCC had the latitude to 
impose conditions. For instance, my constituents will benefit from the 
conditions aimed to preserve localism and diversity. It included an 
additional 1,000 hours annually of locally produced news and 
information to be aired by NBC's and Telemundo's owned and operated 
stations, as well as quarterly reports

[[Page H1617]]

from Comcast-NBCU detailing the number, nature, and duration of these 
additional local news and information programs. This condition would 
not be possible under H.R. 3309.
  I believe the FCC plays an important role; it is a necessary agency 
and can foster innovation and economic growth. But we have seen again 
and again a pattern of overreach, of regulatory strong arming, and 
aggressive actions aimed at achieving an agenda, rather than 
implementing the laws passed by Congress.
  The FCC process is in need of reform, but the Republican proposal 
before us today is not the answer.
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chair, I urge support for the amendment offered by 
Representative Eshoo.
  This is a straightforward amendment that will encourage transparency 
by requiring entities sponsoring political advertising to disclose the 
identity of any donors that have contributed $10,000 or more to such 
entity over a 2-year election reporting period.
  Notably, this amendment applies equally to broadcasters, cable 
providers, and satellite providers, and it does nothing more than 
update what is required to be placed in the political file.
  Based on concerns raised by members of the committee at markup, Ms. 
Eshoo modified the amendment to make it explicit that broadcasters as 
well as cable and satellite providers will not be held liable for any 
inaccuracies in the information provided under this amendment.
  Today, FCC rules require broadcasters, cable providers, and satellite 
providers to maintain and make available for public inspection requests 
to purchase airtime related to political advertising.
  There is no requirement, however, to disclose who actually pays for 
such advertisements. Rather, the file simply needs to contain the name 
of the person or entity requesting such airtime.
  As a result, it is easy to see how viewers might be confused about 
who is actually financing the advertisements they see and hear every 
day. Mild sounding names like ``Taxpayers Against Something'' can hide 
the fact that the advertisement is actually being funded by a 
corporation or a limited group of wealthy individuals.
  Political ads can have a great impact on the outcome of an election 
because the broadcast medium has the ability to reach vast numbers of 
citizens. This amendment simply recognizes the incredible impact such 
advertising can have on the outcome of an election.
  I think we can all agree that $10,000 indicates a significant 
commitment of resources, and the public should be made aware of who is 
paying such sums and for what.
  Mr. Chair, this amendment has broad support from numerous 
organizations that advocate on transparency issues like this, including 
the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in 
Government, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, 
Public Citizen, and the Sunlight Foundation.
  I urge a yes vote on the this important amendment.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3309, the FCC 
Process Reform Act. Although the bill's proponents say the legislation 
is drafted to make the FCC operate more quickly and efficiently, I 
believe the bill will have the opposite effect.
  On the surface H.R. 3309 appears innocuous--directing the FCC to do 
what it already does: analyze the potential harm its rulemaking might 
have on markets, public institutions and consumers. The problem is that 
under this bill, FCC procedure would change to require it to formally 
file its analysis before issuing its ruling. That analysis would be 
subject to unending litigation and the additional level of procedure 
will significantly impair the FCC's flexibility to respond in real-time 
to challenges and expose the FCC to unnecessarily burdensome 
litigation. This change would hurt companies and consumers alike.
  If this bill becomes law, all of the FCC's rulemaldng will be 
subjected to judicial review. Corporations seeking to avoid oversight 
would have new grounds to sue the FCC just because they disagree with 
the agency's reasoning. The FCC could be tied up in litigation for 
years debating whether a cost-benefit-analysis they did was thorough 
enough or whether sufficient regard was paid to the potential impact of 
a rule on company's share of the marketplace. One expert said that it 
could take 15 years just for the courts to clarify the meaning of the 
provisions in the bill.
  Additionally, the bill impedes the FCC's ability to accept publicly 
beneficial commitments made by transacting parties during a merger. For 
example, if two large internet service providers wanted to merge and 
promised to provide increased access to low-income consumers in order 
to address FCC concerns about under-served areas, under the bill, the 
FCC could not accept that commitment.
  Mr. Chair, I oppose this bill because by introducing new and 
unnecessary procedures into the FCC's process, the legislation will 
limit the FCC's ability to exercise its statutory duty to safeguard the 
public interest. And, if this bill becomes law, the FCC would be 
reduced to little more than a reporting agency for Congress.
  The Acting CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the amendment in the nature of a substitute 
recommended by the Committee on Energy and Commerce, printed in the 
bill, shall be considered as an original bill for the purpose of 
amendment under the 5-minute rule and shall be considered read.
  The text of the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute is 
as follows:

                               H.R. 3309

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Communications 
     Commission Process Reform Act of 2012''.

     SEC. 2. FCC PROCESS REFORM.

       (a) In General.--Title I of the Communications Act of 1934 
     (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 
     12 the following new section:

     ``SEC. 13. TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY.

       ``(a) Rulemaking Requirements.--
       ``(1) Requirements for notices of proposed rulemaking.--The 
     Commission may not issue a notice of proposed rulemaking 
     unless the Commission provides for a period of not less than 
     30 days for the submission of comments and an additional 
     period of not less than 30 days for the submission of reply 
     comments on such notice and the Commission includes in such 
     notice the following:
       ``(A) Either--
       ``(i) an identification of--

       ``(I) a notice of inquiry, a prior notice of proposed 
     rulemaking, or a notice on a petition for rulemaking issued 
     by the Commission during the 3-year period preceding the 
     issuance of the notice of proposed rulemaking concerned and 
     of which such notice is a logical outgrowth; or
       ``(II) an order of a court reviewing action by the 
     Commission or otherwise directing the Commission to act that 
     was issued by the court during the 3-year period preceding 
     the issuance of the notice of proposed rulemaking concerned 
     and in response to which such notice is being issued; or

       ``(ii) a finding (together with a brief statement of 
     reasons therefor)--

       ``(I) that the proposed rule or the proposed amendment of 
     an existing rule will not impose additional burdens on 
     industry or consumers; or
       ``(II) for good cause, that a notice of inquiry is 
     impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
     interest.

       ``(B) The specific language of the proposed rule or the 
     proposed amendment of an existing rule.
       ``(C) In the case of a proposal to create a program 
     activity, proposed performance measures for evaluating the 
     effectiveness of the program activity.
       ``(D) In the case of a proposal to substantially change a 
     program activity--
       ``(i) proposed performance measures for evaluating the 
     effectiveness of the program activity as proposed to be 
     changed; or
       ``(ii) a proposed finding that existing performance 
     measures will effectively evaluate the program activity as 
     proposed to be changed.
       ``(2) Requirements for rules.--Except as provided in the 
     3rd sentence of section 553(b) of title 5, United States 
     Code, the Commission may not adopt or amend a rule unless--
       ``(A) the specific language of the adopted rule or the 
     amendment of an existing rule is a logical outgrowth of the 
     specific language of a proposed rule or a proposed amendment 
     of an existing rule included in a notice of proposed 
     rulemaking, as described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph 
     (1);
       ``(B) such notice of proposed rulemaking--
       ``(i) was issued in compliance with such paragraph and 
     during the 3-year period preceding the adoption of the rule 
     or the amendment of an existing rule; and
       ``(ii) is identified in the order making the adoption or 
     amendment;
       ``(C) in the case of the adoption of a rule or the 
     amendment of an existing rule that may have an economically 
     significant impact, the order contains--
       ``(i) an identification and analysis of the specific market 
     failure, actual consumer harm, burden of existing regulation, 
     or failure of public institutions that warrants the adoption 
     or amendment; and
       ``(ii) a reasoned determination that the benefits of the 
     adopted rule or the amendment of an existing rule justify its 
     costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult 
     to quantify), taking into account alternative forms of 
     regulation and the need to tailor regulation to impose the 
     least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory 
     objectives;
       ``(D) in the case of the adoption of a rule or the 
     amendment of an existing rule that creates a program 
     activity, the order contains performance measures for 
     evaluating the effectiveness of the program activity; and
       ``(E) in the case of the adoption of a rule or the 
     amendment of an existing rule that substantially changes a 
     program activity, the order contains--
       ``(i) performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness 
     of the program activity as changed; or

[[Page H1618]]

       ``(ii) a finding that existing performance measures will 
     effectively evaluate the program activity as changed.
       ``(3) Data for performance measures.--The Commission shall 
     develop a performance measure or proposed performance measure 
     required by this subsection to rely, where possible, on data 
     already collected by the Commission.
       ``(b) Adequate Deliberation by Commissioners.--The 
     Commission shall by rule establish procedures for--
       ``(1) informing all Commissioners of a reasonable number of 
     options available to the Commission for resolving a petition, 
     complaint, application, rulemaking, or other proceeding;
       ``(2) ensuring that all Commissioners have adequate time, 
     prior to being required to decide a petition, complaint, 
     application, rulemaking, or other proceeding (including at a 
     meeting held pursuant to section 5(d)), to review the 
     proposed Commission decision document, including the specific 
     language of any proposed rule or any proposed amendment of an 
     existing rule; and
       ``(3) publishing the text of agenda items to be voted on at 
     an open meeting in advance of such meeting so that the public 
     has the opportunity to read the text before a vote is taken.
       ``(c) Nonpublic Collaborative Discussions.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding section 552b of title 5, 
     United States Code, a bipartisan majority of Commissioners 
     may hold a meeting that is closed to the public to discuss 
     official business if--
       ``(A) a vote or any other agency action is not taken at 
     such meeting;
       ``(B) each person present at such meeting is a 
     Commissioner, an employee of the Commission, a member of a 
     joint board established under section 410, or a person on the 
     staff of such a joint board; and
       ``(C) an attorney from the Office of General Counsel of the 
     Commission is present at such meeting.
       ``(2) Disclosure of nonpublic collaborative discussions.--
     Not later than 2 business days after the conclusion of a 
     meeting held under paragraph (1), the Commission shall 
     publish a disclosure of such meeting, including--
       ``(A) a list of the persons who attended such meeting; and
       ``(B) a summary of the matters discussed at such meeting, 
     except for such matters as the Commission determines may be 
     withheld under section 552b(c) of title 5, United States 
     Code.
       ``(3) Preservation of open meetings requirements for agency 
     action.--Nothing in this subsection shall limit the 
     applicability of section 552b of title 5, United States Code, 
     with respect to a meeting of Commissioners other than that 
     described in paragraph (1).
       ``(d) Initiation of Items by Bipartisan Majority.--The 
     Commission shall by rule establish procedures for allowing a 
     bipartisan majority of Commissioners to--
       ``(1) direct Commission staff to draft an order, decision, 
     report, or action for review by the Commission;
       ``(2) require Commission approval of an order, decision, 
     report, or action with respect to a function of the 
     Commission delegated under section 5(c)(1); and
       ``(3) place an order, decision, report, or action on the 
     agenda of an open meeting.
       ``(e) Public Review of Certain Reports and Ex Parte 
     Communications.--
       ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), the 
     Commission may not rely, in any order, decision, report, or 
     action, on--
       ``(A) a statistical report or report to Congress, unless 
     the Commission has published and made such report available 
     for comment for not less than a 30-day period prior to the 
     adoption of such order, decision, report, or action; or
       ``(B) an ex parte communication or any filing with the 
     Commission, unless the public has been afforded adequate 
     notice of and opportunity to respond to such communication or 
     filing, in accordance with procedures to be established by 
     the Commission by rule.
       ``(2) Exception.--Paragraph (1) does not apply when the 
     Commission for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding 
     and a brief statement of reasons therefor in the order, 
     decision, report, or action) that publication or availability 
     of a report under subparagraph (A) of such paragraph or 
     notice of and opportunity to respond to an ex parte 
     communication under subparagraph (B) of such paragraph are 
     impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
     interest.
       ``(f) Publication of Status of Certain Proceedings and 
     Items.--The Commission shall by rule establish procedures for 
     publishing the status of all open rulemaking proceedings and 
     all proposed orders, decisions, reports, or actions on 
     circulation for review by the Commissioners, including which 
     Commissioners have not cast a vote on an order, decision, 
     report, or action that has been on circulation for more than 
     60 days.
       ``(g) Deadlines for Action.--The Commission shall by rule 
     establish deadlines for any Commission order, decision, 
     report, or action for each of the various categories of 
     petitions, applications, complaints, and other filings 
     seeking Commission action, including filings seeking action 
     through authority delegated under section 5(c)(1).
       ``(h) Prompt Release of Certain Reports and Decision 
     Documents.--
       ``(1) Statistical reports and reports to congress.--
       ``(A) Release schedule.--Not later than January 15th of 
     each year, the Commission shall identify, catalog, and 
     publish an anticipated release schedule for all statistical 
     reports and reports to Congress that are regularly or 
     intermittently released by the Commission and will be 
     released during such year.
       ``(B) Publication deadlines.--The Commission shall publish 
     each report identified in a schedule published under 
     subparagraph (A) not later than the date indicated in such 
     schedule for the anticipated release of such report.
       ``(2) Decision documents.--The Commission shall publish 
     each order, decision, report, or action not later than 7 days 
     after the date of the adoption of such order, decision, 
     report, or action.
       ``(3) Effect if deadlines not met.--
       ``(A) Notification of congress.--If the Commission fails to 
     publish an order, decision, report, or action by a deadline 
     described in paragraph (1)(B) or (2), the Commission shall, 
     not later than 7 days after such deadline and every 14 days 
     thereafter until the publication of the order, decision, 
     report, or action, notify by letter the chairpersons and 
     ranking members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of 
     the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation of the Senate. Such letter shall 
     identify such order, decision, report, or action, specify the 
     deadline, and describe the reason for the delay. The 
     Commission shall publish such letter.
       ``(B) No impact on effectiveness.--The failure of the 
     Commission to publish an order, decision, report, or action 
     by a deadline described in paragraph (1)(B) or (2) shall not 
     render such order, decision, report, or action ineffective 
     when published.
       ``(i) Biannual Scorecard Reports.--
       ``(1) In general.--For the 6-month period beginning on 
     January 1st of each year and the 6-month period beginning on 
     July 1st of each year, the Commission shall prepare a report 
     on the performance of the Commission in conducting its 
     proceedings and meeting the deadlines established under 
     subsections (g), (h)(1)(B), and (h)(2).
       ``(2) Contents.--Each report required by paragraph (1) 
     shall contain detailed statistics on such performance, 
     including, with respect to each Bureau of the Commission--
       ``(A) in the case of performance in meeting the deadlines 
     established under subsection (g), with respect to each 
     category established under such subsection--
       ``(i) the number of petitions, applications, complaints, 
     and other filings seeking Commission action that were pending 
     on the last day of the period covered by such report;
       ``(ii) the number of filings described in clause (i) that 
     were not resolved by the deadlines established under such 
     subsection and the average length of time such filings have 
     been pending; and
       ``(iii) for petitions, applications, complaints, and other 
     filings seeking Commission action that were resolved during 
     such period, the average time between initiation and 
     resolution and the percentage resolved by the deadlines 
     established under such subsection;
       ``(B) in the case of proceedings before an administrative 
     law judge--
       ``(i) the number of such proceedings completed during such 
     period; and
       ``(ii) the number of such proceedings pending on the last 
     day of such period; and
       ``(C) the number of independent studies or analyses 
     published by the Commission during such period.
       ``(3) Publication and submission.--The Commission shall 
     publish and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of 
     the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation of the Senate each report 
     required by paragraph (1) not later than the date that is 30 
     days after the last day of the period covered by such report.
       ``(j) Transaction Review Standards.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Commission shall condition its 
     approval of a transfer of lines, a transfer of licenses, or 
     any other transaction under section 214, 309, or 310 or any 
     other provision of this Act only if--
       ``(A) the imposed condition is narrowly tailored to remedy 
     a harm that arises as a direct result of the specific 
     transfer or specific transaction that this Act empowers the 
     Commission to review; and
       ``(B) the Commission could impose a similar requirement 
     under the authority of a specific provision of law other than 
     a provision empowering the Commission to review a transfer of 
     lines, a transfer of licenses, or other transaction.
       ``(2) Exclusions.--In reviewing a transfer of lines, a 
     transfer of licenses, or any other transaction under section 
     214, 309, or 310 or any other provision of this Act, the 
     Commission may not consider a voluntary commitment of a party 
     to such transfer or transaction unless the Commission could 
     adopt that voluntary commitment as a condition under 
     paragraph (1).
       ``(k) Access to Certain Information on Commission's 
     Website.--The Commission shall provide direct access from the 
     homepage of its website to--
       ``(1) detailed information regarding--
       ``(A) the budget of the Commission for the current fiscal 
     year;
       ``(B) the appropriations for the Commission for such fiscal 
     year; and
       ``(C) the total number of full-time equivalent employees of 
     the Commission; and
       ``(2) the performance plan most recently made available by 
     the Commission under section 1115(b) of title 31, United 
     States Code.
       ``(l) Federal Register Publication.--
       ``(1) In general.--In the case of any document adopted by 
     the Commission that the Commission is required, under any 
     provision of law, to publish in the Federal Register, the 
     Commission shall, not later than the date described in 
     paragraph (2), complete all Commission actions necessary for 
     such document to be so published.
       ``(2) Date described.--The date described in this paragraph 
     is the earlier of--
       ``(A) the day that is 45 days after the date of the release 
     of the document; or
       ``(B) the day by which such actions must be completed to 
     comply with any deadline under any other provision of law.

[[Page H1619]]

       ``(3) No effect on deadlines for publication in other 
     form.--In the case of a deadline that does not specify that 
     the form of publication is publication in the Federal 
     Register, the Commission may comply with such deadline by 
     publishing the document in another form. Such other form of 
     publication does not relieve the Commission of any Federal 
     Register publication requirement applicable to such document, 
     including the requirement of paragraph (1).
       ``(m) Consumer Complaint Database.--
       ``(1) In general.--In evaluating and processing consumer 
     complaints, the Commission shall present information about 
     such complaints in a publicly available, searchable database 
     on its website that--
       ``(A) facilitates easy use by consumers; and
       ``(B) to the extent practicable, is sortable and accessible 
     by--
       ``(i) the date of the filing of the complaint;
       ``(ii) the topic of the complaint;
       ``(iii) the party complained of; and
       ``(iv) other elements that the Commission considers in the 
     public interest.
       ``(2) Duplicative complaints.--In the case of multiple 
     complaints arising from the same alleged misconduct, the 
     Commission shall be required to include only information 
     concerning one such complaint in the database described in 
     paragraph (1).
       ``(n) Form of Publication.--
       ``(1) In general.--In complying with a requirement of this 
     section to publish a document, the Commission shall publish 
     such document on its website, in addition to publishing such 
     document in any other form that the Commission is required to 
     use or is permitted to and chooses to use.
       ``(2) Exception.--The Commission shall by rule establish 
     procedures for redacting documents required to be published 
     by this section so that the published versions of such 
     documents do not contain--
       ``(A) information the publication of which would be 
     detrimental to national security, homeland security, law 
     enforcement, or public safety; or
       ``(B) information that is proprietary or confidential.
       ``(o) Definitions.--In this section:
       ``(1) Amendment.--The term `amendment' includes, when used 
     with respect to an existing rule, the deletion of such rule.
       ``(2) Bipartisan majority.--The term `bipartisan majority' 
     means, when used with respect to a group of Commissioners, 
     that such group--
       ``(A) is a group of 3 or more Commissioners; and
       ``(B) includes, for each political party of which any 
     Commissioner is a member, at least 1 Commissioner who is a 
     member of such political party, and, if any Commissioner has 
     no political party affiliation, at least 1 unaffiliated 
     Commissioner.
       ``(3) Economically significant impact.--The term 
     `economically significant impact' means an effect on the 
     economy of $100,000,000 or more annually or a material 
     adverse effect on the economy, a sector of the economy, 
     productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
     health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or 
     communities.
       ``(4) Performance measure.--The term `performance measure' 
     means an objective and quantifiable outcome measure or output 
     measure (as such terms are defined in section 1115 of title 
     31, United States Code).
       ``(5) Program activity.--The term `program activity' has 
     the meaning given such term in section 1115 of title 31, 
     United States Code, except that such term also includes any 
     annual collection or distribution or related series of 
     collections or distributions by the Commission of an amount 
     that is greater than or equal to $100,000,000.
       ``(6) Other definitions.--The terms `agency action', `ex 
     parte communication', and `rule' have the meanings given such 
     terms in section 551 of title 5, United States Code.''.
       (b) Effective Date and Implementing Rules.--
       (1) Effective date.--
       (A) In general.--The requirements of section 13 of the 
     Communications Act of 1934, as added by subsection (a), shall 
     apply beginning on the date that is 6 months after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act.
       (B) Prior notices of proposed rulemaking.--If the Federal 
     Communications Commission identifies under paragraph 
     (2)(B)(ii) of subsection (a) of such section 13 a notice of 
     proposed rulemaking issued prior to the date of the enactment 
     of this Act--
       (i) such notice shall be deemed to have complied with 
     paragraph (1) of such subsection; and
       (ii) if such notice did not contain the specific language 
     of a proposed rule or a proposed amendment of an existing 
     rule, paragraph (2)(A) of such subsection shall be satisfied 
     if the adopted rule or the amendment of an existing rule is a 
     logical outgrowth of such notice.
       (C) Schedules and reports.--Notwithstanding subparagraph 
     (A), subsections (h)(1) and (i) of such section shall apply 
     with respect to 2013 and any year thereafter.
       (2) Rules.--The Federal Communications Commission shall 
     promulgate the rules necessary to carry out such section not 
     later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this 
     Act.
       (3) Procedures for adopting rules.--Notwithstanding 
     paragraph (1)(A), in promulgating rules to carry out such 
     section, the Federal Communications Commission shall comply 
     with the requirements of subsections (a) and (h)(2) of such 
     section.

     SEC. 3. CATEGORIZATION OF TCPA INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS IN 
                   QUARTERLY REPORT.

       In compiling its quarterly report with respect to informal 
     consumer inquiries and complaints, the Federal Communications 
     Commission may not categorize an inquiry or complaint with 
     respect to section 227 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
     U.S.C. 227) as being a wireline inquiry or complaint or a 
     wireless inquiry or complaint unless the party whose conduct 
     is the subject of the inquiry or complaint is a wireline 
     carrier or a wireless carrier, respectively.

     SEC. 4. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.

       Nothing in this Act or the amendment made by this Act shall 
     relieve the Federal Communications Commission from any 
     obligations under title 5, United States Code, except where 
     otherwise expressly provided.

  The Acting CHAIR. No amendment to the committee amendment in the 
nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in House 
Report 112 422. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order 
printed in the report, by a Member designated in the report, shall be 
considered read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the 
report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, 
shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand 
for division of the question.


                 Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Crowley

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 7, line 5, strike ``and''.
       Page 7, line 15, strike the period and insert ``; and''.
       Page 7, after line 15, insert the following:
       ``(F) in the case of the adoption of a rule or the 
     amendment of an existing rule relating to baby monitors, such 
     rule as adopted or amended requires the packaging of an 
     analog baby monitor to display a warning label stating that 
     sounds or images captured by the baby monitor may be easily 
     viewed or heard by potential intruders outside a consumer's 
     home.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Crowley) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.

                              {time}  1640

  Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this amendment to H.R. 3309.
  Mr. Chairman, my amendment addresses a problem that has come to light 
over the past 2 years. It's a problem that's a concern for parents, a 
problem that is a concern for families. It's a problem that's a concern 
for law enforcement. And I believe that my amendment will help to 
address this problem.
  Here's what we have learned. Many families do not know that the baby 
monitors that they purchase to help them take care of their infants and 
their children can be easily accessed by potential intruders. It's 
possible for someone, anyone at all, to purchase a normal baby monitor 
at the store and use that monitor to see and hear inside a family's 
home, quite literally making it possible to monitor other people's 
children and their lives.
  In fact, recent investigative news stories by NBC in New York and 
throughout the Nation found that one can even drive down the street 
with a baby monitor receiver and monitor every child on that street 
whose family uses an analog baby monitor. Outsiders waiting hundreds of 
feet from a home or canvassing a neighborhood can quickly and easily 
see an image of a young child or an entire room, the same image seen by 
parents inside their home.
  The concerns don't end there. Potential intruders could also identify 
whether the parents or children are home at all, helping create 
conditions for burglary. And a potential kidnapper or abuser could 
easily identify the location of a child within a home, as well as the 
easiest point of entry to abduct or cause harm to that child.
  This is a situation that is deeply concerning to many parents who 
know of the problem. But equally as alarming is the fact that so many 
others don't even know about the problem to begin with.
  This amendment would direct the FCC, when ruling on baby monitors, to 
require companies producing analog baby monitors to include warning 
labels on packages so that parents can make fully informed decisions 
about the potential risk of their purchases.

[[Page H1620]]

  Parents have no greater concern than the well-being of their children 
and their families, and they deserve full information about the 
products they are purchasing. It comes down to making sure that parents 
are aware of any potential dangers. A clear warning on the monitors 
will help arm parents with the information they need to make the best 
decision for their family.
  I have written to the FCC about this issue, as well as the Federal 
Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There is, 
indeed, an interest in addressing this problem, and I hope passage of 
this amendment will send a clear message to the agencies with 
jurisdiction over these products that we need to find a way to move 
forward and get this matter addressed.
  I ask for support for this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN. I share the gentleman's concerns that he raised. A lot of 
people do not understand that, especially in the area of unlicensed 
spectrum, you don't have a right to a protective communication. And 
certainly, in the analog world, you can listen in. We all know that 
from CB radios and things of that nature and family networks--you hear 
other people talking. This is an issue of concern, certainly, because 
all of us want to protect our families, those of us who have children. 
Mine now much older than that at nearly 22.
  But this is certainly an issue, and I appreciate the gentleman 
raising it. I know he has legislation, although I would say this is the 
wrong vehicle for that because this is an FCC process reform bill, not 
a labeling bill, and the FCC does not use the phrase ``baby monitor'' 
in any of its rules, so, in effect, this labeling requirement may never 
take effect anyway.
  And if the labeling requirement does take effect, it may cause some 
consumer confusion because you'd treat all analog monitors, perhaps, as 
unsafe and digital monitors as safe, even if that's not true for a 
particular brand of baby monitor.
  So I oppose this amendment, and would encourage my colleagues to do 
likewise.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Crowley).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey 
will be postponed.
  The Chair understands that amendment No. 2 will not be offered.
  It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed in House 
Report 112 422.
  It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 printed in House 
report 112 422.


                  Amendment No. 5 Offered by Ms. Eshoo

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I seek to offer the amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 18, after line 21, insert the following (and 
     redesignate subsequent provisions accordingly):
       ``(n) Certifications Regarding Identity of Donors for 
     Public Inspection Files.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Commission shall revise its rules to 
     require the public inspection file of a broadcast licensee, 
     cable operator, or provider of direct broadcast satellite 
     service to include, from each entity sponsoring political 
     programming, a certification that identifies any donors that 
     have contributed a total of $10,000 or more to such entity in 
     an election reporting cycle.
       ``(2) Accuracy of information.--A broadcast licensee, cable 
     operator, or provider of direct broadcast satellite service 
     may not be held responsible for an inaccuracy in a 
     certification filed under this subsection, unless such 
     licensee, operator, or provider had actual knowledge, at the 
     time such certification was filed, that such certification 
     was false or fraudulent.
       ``(3) Definitions.--In this subsection:
       ``(A) Cable operator.--The term `cable operator' has the 
     meaning given such term in section 602.
       ``(B) DBS origination programming.--The term `DBS 
     origination programming' has the meaning given such term in 
     section 25.701 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.
       ``(C) Election reporting cycle.--The term `election 
     reporting cycle' means, with respect to a request to purchase 
     time by an entity sponsoring political programming, the 2-
     year period that begins on the date of the most recent 
     general election for Federal office preceding such request.
       ``(D) General election.--The term `general election' means 
     an election occurring on the first Tuesday after the first 
     Monday in November of an even-numbered year.
       ``(E) Origination cablecasting.--The term `origination 
     cablecasting' has the meaning given such term in section 76.5 
     of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.
       ``(F) Political programming.--The term `political 
     programming' means programming that communicates a message 
     relating to any political matter of national importance, 
     including a legally qualified candidate for public office, 
     any election to Federal office, or a national legislative 
     issue of public importance.
       ``(G) Programming.--The term `programming' means--
       ``(I) with respect to a broadcast licensee, broadcast 
     programming;
       ``(ii) with respect to a cable operator, origination 
     cablecasting; and
       ``(iii) with respect to a provider of direct broadcast 
     satellite service, DBS origination programming.
       ``(H) Provider of direct broadcast satellite service.--The 
     term `provider of direct broadcast satellite service' has the 
     meaning given such term in section 335.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentlewoman 
from California (Ms. Eshoo) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I come to the floor this afternoon to offer 
an amendment to this bill that probably, for most people, as they were 
tuned in and listening to the discussion and the debate of the bill, 
may not have gotten too excited about it because it deals with the 
innards of an agency. But this amendment, I think, is probably one of 
the most important parts of the bill, and I'm very pleased that the 
Rules Committee found it in order.
  This amendment goes to the heart of our democracy, and it's all about 
disclosure. We have the opportunity today to secure disclosure in 
political reporting for the voting public.
  There's something very sick about our system today. People across the 
country are deeply and profoundly upset about the undisclosed sums of 
money that are being poured over and through our political system. And 
when that happens, it goes right to the heart of democracy.
  Why? Because it's undisclosed. We do not know who is contributing. We 
don't know how much they're contributing. We don't even know if foreign 
countries are involved in this.
  So this is really a very simple amendment. It's an amendment that 
adheres to the same principles that many of my colleagues, Democrats 
and Republicans, have supported before, and it works like this: If an 
organization buys political advertising time on broadcast television, 
on radio, on cable, or on satellite, they would be required to disclose 
their large donors, those who give $10,000 or more to air the ad.

                              {time}  1650

  There is today, in statute, section 315 of the Communications Act--
and it's been in place since 2002--that covers national legislative 
issues of public importance. It also covers legally qualified 
candidates, or any election to Federal office. So there's something 
already in place. The only thing that's being added to this is that if 
you're going to buy time, $10,000 or more, that you are required to 
disclose and name who the donors are, who's contributing that money.
  I think that this is very important. We are a democracy. We're not a 
plutocracy. What I hear over and over and over and over again from my 
constituents is the damage that Citizens United, the case that the 
Supreme Court rendered the decision--I think a disastrous one--2 years 
ago. We have the jurisdiction at the Energy and Commerce Committee and 
this subcommittee; it is within our jurisdiction to take this up in 
this bill.
  Now, there is something else. Some people have said that this is 
burdensome--burdensome for broadcasters, burdensome for those that 
broadcast

[[Page H1621]]

television, burdensome to radio, burdensome to cable, burdensome to 
satellite. They're not the ones that have to disclose, only those that 
buy the time.
  And the files exist today. There is one file, one file only--now, 
there are other files for other responsibilities, but there's only one 
for political ads. Is America and our democracy not worth requiring 
those that want to buy the political ads to disclose who they are above 
$10,000? And that's it. So the law is already in place since 2002. The 
file is already there. There is no burden to the broadcasters, radio, 
TV, satellite, cable, as I said, but simply to report.
  Now, there are those that say that that would be burdensome, that 
that would be burdensome as well. My question is, How heavy a burden is 
it? How heavy of a burden, how heavy of a lift is it to report and 
disclose to the American people? The American people have a right to 
know; and once they know disclosure is a disinfectant, they will make 
up their own minds.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN. I don't rise in opposition to disclosure. I think it's a 
good thing if it's done in the proper venue in the proper way. And 
that's not on this particular bill.
  A similar amendment was brought before the full committee and 
rejected by the full committee. It has since been rewritten. It's 
better than what came before the full committee, and I commend my 
friend from California for that. But the way that this is written, I 
believe that it has lots of unintended consequences that can be 
difficult and doesn't accomplish what she's trying to accomplish in an 
effective way.
  For example, my colleagues in the Chamber, you all would have to 
disclose, when you go to inquire about the purchase of time now in 
radio, TV, or satellite, your $10,000 donors. So any PAC that gave you 
$10,000 in the last 2 years would have to be listed. Now, my colleague 
from California, that would be like Abbott Labs and Google that gave 
you 10, and I've got some that gave me 10. You'd have to do that and 
disclose. You wouldn't have to do money you got from others.
  But here's the deal, because I looked this up last night about one in 
the morning. I couldn't sleep, I was on west coast time, and so I went 
to the site where this stuff is disclosed--for us, that's the Federal 
Election Commission site. So I could easily find all the documentation 
for my dear friend--I just happened to go to her contribution history 
for last year. And only $30,000 of the $296,817 that she got from PACs 
would be disclosed as a result of this, which is about 10 percent. But 
she was able to have another $400,000, or thereabouts, from 
individuals. So you're really down to only seeing a tiny little window 
of about 5 percent, or less, that would be disclosed in the public file 
of a broadcast, satellite, or cable operator, or radio, which, by the 
way, is all on paper, at least for now, and not online. I was able to 
ferret out this information online last night, one in the morning, or 
thereabouts.
  The other thing it does, I think it draws in every candidate in 
America the way this is listed. Because when you read the actual 
language of the amendment, it talks about political programming. And it 
defines it as meaning ``programming that communicates a message 
relating to any political matter of national importance.''
  So I'm thinking about a city that's having a fight with the Federal 
Government over some new Federal regulation. That would be an issue of 
national importance; or if in a local community they were 
fighting about something, again, that, I don't know, Second Amendment 
rights, First Amendment rights. That would be an issue of national 
importance. Further, the language talks about a legally qualified 
candidate for public office. So that would seem to be any candidate for 
public office at any level.

  So then you have public broadcasting that could be pulled into this 
because they have people that underwrite programming that deals with 
issues of national importance. So could that be that every public 
broadcaster would have to disclose somehow everybody that's paying for 
that programming?
  Then you have the creative minds of the people who try to hide from 
disclosure. This would be real simple under this amendment because it 
says the look-back period is back to the last Federal general election. 
Whatever donors you've had at $10,000 would have to be reported before 
you could inquire about buying time and purchasing time. Well, it's not 
a reach to think that these clever little rascals out there would 
simply create a new committee every time they wanted to buy time. 
That's easy to do. They've got lots of money; they've got lots of 
attorneys. They just create the committee to attack Anna Eshoo, 2012. 
And it has no prior donors from the 2 years, so they escape this. And 
who among us here thinks that they won't do that?
  So I don't think the amendment is written to accomplish the goal, and 
the goal is best achieved and accomplished through the Federal Election 
Commission, not the Federal Communications Commission. So we're about 
two letters off. I think it really raises a host of issues that are 
unintended consequences and should be defeated.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Eshoo).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California 
will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 6 Offered by Mr. Walden

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 6 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, on behalf of Mr. Diaz-Balart, I have an 
amendment I am going to offer.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 19, after line 13, insert the following (and 
     redesignate subsequent provisions accordingly):
       ``(o) Transparency Relating to Performance in Meeting FOIA 
     Requirements.--The Commission shall take additional steps to 
     inform the public about its performance and efficiency in 
     meeting the disclosure and other requirements of section 552 
     of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the 
     Freedom of Information Act), including by doing the 
     following:
       ``(1) Publishing on the Commission's website the 
     Commission's logs for tracking, responding to, and managing 
     requests submitted under such section, including the 
     Commission's fee estimates, fee categories, and fee request 
     determinations.
       ``(2) Releasing to the public all decisions made by the 
     Commission (including decisions made by the Commission's 
     Bureaus and Offices) granting or denying requests filed under 
     such section, including any such decisions pertaining to the 
     estimate and application of fees assessed under such section.
       ``(3) Publishing on the Commission's website electronic 
     copies of documents released under such section.
       ``(4) Presenting information about the Commission's 
     handling of requests under such section in the Commission's 
     annual budget estimates submitted to Congress and the 
     Commission's annual performance and financial reports. Such 
     information shall include the number of requests under such 
     section the Commission received in the most recent fiscal 
     year, the number of such requests granted and denied, a 
     comparison of the Commission's processing of such requests 
     over at least the previous 3 fiscal years, and a comparison 
     of the Commission's results with the most recent average for 
     the United States Government as published on www.foia.gov.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. Walden) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, throughout the course of the debate today 
on the floor we'll have amendments offered by Republicans and 
Democrats, a total of potentially 10. This is one offered by my 
colleague from Florida (Mr. Diaz-Balart), which we will be supportive 
of. There will be at least one amendment on the other side we will be 
supportive of as well.
  This one will require the FCC to make additional disclosures on its 
Web site and in its annual budget regarding its processing of Freedom 
of Information Act requests. I think this does fall

[[Page H1622]]

in the category of reforming how the FCC operates in a positive way. It 
would increase the Agency's transparency with regard to how it complies 
with Freedom of Information Act requests. Additional disclosure and 
transparency is a good thing, and the burdens on the FCC are clearly 
modest, completely.
  So I would urge passage of this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, obviously, my colleagues know that I'm a 
strong proponent of openness and transparency rules in government. I'm 
concerned about this amendment because it seems as if it would apply 
special Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, requirements on one agency 
alone.

                              {time}  1700

  As with the underlying bill, I am concerned that this would create 
confusion and inconsistency.
  Most frankly, I also question what the problem is that we're 
addressing here. Just 2 weeks ago, Chairman Issa, the chairman of the 
committee with jurisdiction over FOIA matters, issued a report in which 
he gave an A grade for FOIA compliance relative to the FCC. It is also 
my understanding that the FCC is already publishing on its Web site 
logs for tracking, for responding to, and for managing FOIA requests. 
So it's a little confusing given the grade that Chairman Issa issued 
relative to the FCC and FOIA requests and relative to the issues that I 
raised.
  So I think, perhaps, that the amendment may be redundant or simply 
not needed at all. Those are my observations, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                  Amendment No. 7 Offered by Mr. Owens

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 7 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Mr. OWENS. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 22, after line 24, insert the following (and 
     redesignate the subsequent section accordingly):

     SEC. 4. BROADBAND ACCESS IN RURAL AREAS.

       Nothing in this Act (including the amendment made by 
     section 2 of this Act) shall impede the Federal 
     Communications Commission from implementing rules to ensure 
     broadband access in rural areas.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Owens) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. OWENS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 
3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act.
  I agree that cost-benefit analysis is an important factor that 
independent agencies should consider before issuing new rules and 
regulations. To that end, I have supported bipartisan legislation that 
would require other agencies, like the CFTC and the SBA, to conduct 
similar analyses.
  Mr. Chairman, in our efforts to change the rulemaking process at the 
FCC, it is important that we consider unintended consequences. My 
amendment is very simple and limited in scope. It simply expresses that 
nothing in this act shall impede the FCC from implementing rules to 
ensure broadband access in rural areas. I would like to clarify that 
this amendment is not intended to influence the current debate 
concerning the FCC's reforms to the Universal Service Fund.
  Last year, I introduced legislation that would direct the Department 
of Agriculture to craft a comprehensive plan to expand broadband access 
to rural America. If such a plan were enacted under the bill we are 
considering today, the FCC would likely be required to conduct 
additional market surveys and analysis that could delay its 
implementation.
  New York's 23rd Congressional District is 14,000 square miles and 
encompasses a large portion of the State's rural communities. My 
amendment would simply ensure that the development of much-needed 
broadband in rural areas, like in my congressional district in upstate 
New York, is not held up by the increased requirements imposed by the 
FCC under this bill.
  Whether it is a small business in Massena, Watertown, Oswego or in 
Plattsburgh, New York, that wants to market its products to customers 
in Canada or to a hospital that is able to save a life by accessing 
patient records, access to broadband is critical to creating jobs and 
growing the economy in rural New York and in rural regions across the 
country. In many of these areas, there is simply insufficient demand 
for private industry to justify the cost of building out their 
networks.
  Congress must be prepared to help develop this infrastructure to 
ensure our economy remains competitive in the global marketplace. I 
urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN. This amendment would exempt from procedural reforms any 
FCC actions with regard to broadband access in rural areas. Now, I know 
the gentleman talked about representing a large rural district. My 
district in eastern Oregon is larger than his State of New York. It is 
70,000 square miles. In fact, it's bigger than any State this side of 
the Mississippi River, I'm told.
  This is my bill. I am an advocate for it because, in many respects, 
it's bad process at the FCC that harms those least able to afford big 
high-rise towers of lawyers to come and oversee the FCC. That's why we 
need a more open and transparent process. This would exempt the FCC 
from using good process when reforming the Universal Service Fund, for 
example.
  I know the gentleman is fairly new here, but he may not have caught 
the part about the FCC doing a data dump in the final hours before they 
promulgated their rule on the Universal Service Fund, which meant it 
was very difficult, if not impossible, for anybody who really cared 
deeply about the build-out of broadband or of the future of the USF to 
go through literally thousands of pages. I used these earlier today in 
the debate on the underlying bill. We have binders and binders and 
binders of the actual documents that they dumped at the last minute. 
It's just not the way to do the public's business.
  So I understand what the gentleman is saying. Mr. Terry, who is the 
sponsor of this bill, is a long-time advocate of rural broadband build-
out, as am I, which is part of what we are hoping to accomplish in 
other legislation as well that has become law. The National 
Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the voice of rural 
carriers--the very people you're trying to help and genuinely so with 
your amendment--actually supports the underlying bill. Surely they 
don't think it will slow down rural broadband deployment.
  So I appreciate the gentleman's commitment to rural broadband build-
out. I think his amendment actually goes in the wrong direction in that 
it reduces transparency, accountability, and access for the very people 
we're trying to help.
  Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I will oppose the amendment. I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. OWENS. Mr. Chairman, may I reclaim my unused time?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman seeks unanimous consent to reclaim 
the remaining part of his time.
  Without objection, the gentleman from New York is recognized for 2\1/
2\ minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. OWENS. I just want to point out two items.
  First, this bill is not intended to influence in any way the current 
debate concerning the FCC's reforms to the Universal Service Fund. We 
are not in any way attempting to impact that. In addition, what we're 
really asking is that the FCC take into account in its rulemaking 
process the rural broadband needs. We are not exempting it from the 
process but are simply asking that that be taken into account as

[[Page H1623]]

they go through the process. There is no exemption intended here.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Owens).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. OWENS. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York 
will be postponed.


            Amendment No. 8 Offered by Mr. Al Green of Texas

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 8 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. I have an amendment at the desk, Mr. Chairman.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 22, after line 24, insert the following (and 
     redesignate the subsequent section accordingly):

     SEC. 4. PROVISION OF EMERGENCY WEATHER INFORMATION.

       Nothing in subsection (a) of section 13 of the 
     Communications Act of 1934, as added by section 2 of this 
     Act, shall be construed to impede the Federal Communications 
     Commission from acting in times of emergency to ensure the 
     availability of efficient and effective communications 
     systems to alert the public to imminent dangerous weather 
     conditions.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. Al Green) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief because I 
understand that time is of the essence.
  I've had an opportunity to work with my colleagues across the aisle, 
and our staffs have worked together. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would 
simply make it clear that the FCC will not be impeded in any way as it 
relates to notifying the public about dangerous conditions. We all know 
about the hurricanes that hit the gulf coast and that we have tornadoes 
in other areas of the country. This is a very simple, commonsense 
amendment. I believe my colleague will agree with me, and I don't 
believe there will be a need for a vote.
  Mr. WALDEN. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Oregon.

                              {time}  1710

  Mr. WALDEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for 
working with this side of the aisle. You have been terrific and so have 
your staff as we worked through this.
  This wasn't a surprise amendment by any means. We were able to sit 
down and work through it. We share your concern fully, and we are fully 
supportive of your amendment. And I thank you for raising this issue.
  As a former radio broadcaster, having been involved in some 
emergencies--not hurricanes, clearly, in Oregon--but this is important. 
So we do support it. And again, I thank you for working with us in a 
bipartisan spirit.
  Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Thank you. And reclaiming my time, I am 
grateful for my colleague and the staff members that worked with us.
  And with that said, Mr. Chairman, I don't believe there will be a 
request for a vote if the amendment is accepted.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Al Green).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 9 Offered by Ms. Speier

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 9 
printed in House Report 112 422.
  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 22, after line 24, insert the following (and 
     redesignate the subsequent section accordingly):

     SEC. 4. IMPACT ON COMPETITION AND INNOVATION.

       This Act (including the amendment made by section 2 of this 
     Act) shall not take effect until the Federal Communications 
     Commission submits to Congress a report on the impact of this 
     Act (and amendment) on the mandate of the Commission to 
     promote competition and innovation.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentlewoman 
from California (Ms. Speier) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.
  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Chairman, who among us is not for competition and 
innovation? This amendment speaks directly to that issue. And I want to 
read you the amendment:

       This act shall not take effect until the Federal 
     Communications Commission submits to Congress a report on the 
     impact of this act on the mandate of the commission to 
     promote competition and innovation.

  Again, who isn't for competition and innovation? Among the important 
mandates of the FCC are the following: promoting competition, 
innovation, and investment in broadband services and facilities; 
supporting the Nation's economy by ensuring an appropriate competitive 
framework for the unfolding of the communications revolution; 
encouraging the highest and best use of spectrum domestically and 
internationally; revising media regulations so that new technologies 
flourish alongside diversity and localism; providing leadership; and 
strengthening the defense of the Nation's communications 
infrastructure.
  The provisions of this bill could potentially disable the agency and 
stymie the commission's ability to fulfill its most basic mission: to 
promote innovation while protecting the public interest. The U.S. has 
led the world in developing policies to unleash spectrum for mobile 
investment and innovation. The FCC was the first agency to develop 
spectrum auctions and also the first to free up so-called junk bands 
for unlicensed use, such as Bluetooth, cordless phones, and Wi-Fi, all 
things we take for granted today.
  The economic benefit created by unlicensed spectrum alone is 
estimated at $37 billion a year. In 2011, the U.S. tech sector grew 
three times faster than the overall economy. This is success, and we 
should do nothing to stymie that success.
  The U.S. has regained global leadership in mobile innovation. We are 
ahead of the world in deploying 4G mobile broadband, and those next-
generation networks are projected to add more than $150 billion in GDP 
growth over the next 4 years. Internet startups attracted $7 billion in 
venture capital last year, almost double the 2009 level. The apps 
economy alone has generated more than 500,000 jobs, and many of those 
are right smack-dab in my district. You know them: Google, YouTube, and 
Facebook.
  Rest assured, the innovation is continuing. For example, JellyRadio 
is a small technology company with about 15 employees, and it's located 
right across the street from my district office. It's already received 
$2 million in angel and venture capital. It allows crowdsourcing of 
radio playlists. You vote for what you want to hear, and the band or 
subject with the most votes gets played. They just received a local 
business award for small technology company of the year.
  Another is Storm8, the creator of the number one role-playing games 
on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android devices and parent company of 
the number one mobile social game developer, TeamLava. Started in 2009, 
Storm8 quickly shot to the top of the mobile gaming industry, 
celebrating its first million-dollar day in June of last year.
  These are examples of what we must protect in our FCC operation. We 
must ensure that innovators like these have the opportunity to grow and 
thrive. The FCC has a critical role to play in moving us forward 
technologically and with the jobs that it brings. Broadband has 
unlocked new opportunities to transform health care, education, energy, 
and public safety.
  Cloud computing is the next wave, a $68 billion global industry that 
is growing 17 percent annually. In fact, my son is now working for one 
of those companies. That's why we need to make sure that the FCC has 
the ability to make sure there continues to be innovation and 
competitiveness. The FCC Process Reform Act undermines standard 
administrative law practices, undoing over 60 years of Federal court 
precedent under the Administrative Procedures Act, creating uncertainty 
and

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confusion for the FCC and innovative businesses that interact with the 
agency. It also severely undermines the FCC's ability to develop 
sensible conditions to protect consumers and ensure competition.
  I am a strong component of congressional oversight over agencies 
within our jurisdiction. That's part of our job. But we have to make 
sure that the FCC has the tools to do its job as well. So before we 
risk millions of jobs affected by the important work of the FCC, let's 
be sure we know how this bill will affect our innovative economy. I 
urge support of this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentlewoman 
bringing the amendment forward.
  I rise in opposition to it today because in essence what it does is 
implements a study on the idea of these reforms. These reforms, again, 
are very basic. This just says, hey, a lot of these are already in 
place. It opens up the process to the American public. We believe in an 
open transparent government, an open and transparent system.
  This puts a study on the bill that simply has no timeline to it. Let 
me give you a quick example. The FCC is already behind on completing 
its reports. It didn't finish its satellite competition report for 2008 
until 2011 and still hasn't finished the 2010 report on media 
ownership. So let's just be very honest with this. This is an attempt 
to kill this bill. This is an attempt to put a study on it that has no 
time line and simply allows the FCC to indefinitely delay the reforms 
that I think, frankly, the American people are demanding of Congress, 
demanding of Washington, which is to just open up government, let us 
know what's going on, be transparent. That's basic. That's what we 
stand for.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Speier).
  The amendment was rejected.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Committee will rise informally.
  The Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Kinzinger of Illinois) assumed the 
chair.

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