Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015. This bill includes an amendment with language introduced by Representative Adam Kinzinger intended to increase transparency in FCC proceedings. Public Knowledge supports transparency but recommends a more balanced approach to avoid decreasing the FCC’s effectiveness.
The following statement can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President for Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“Transparency in FCC proceedings is an important value that must be balanced with other concerns, such as the ability to have open dialogue and negotiation among commissioners, and the ability of the Chairman to move a proceeding to a final vote without creating an endless loop of notice and comments.
“We appreciate Chairman Walden’s willingness to listen to our concerns and that he and Representative Kinzinger, who originally introduced this amendment, included edits to address some unintended consequences. The bill as reported still meets the goal of sharing language with all stakeholders but does so without granting legal standing to any publication of circulated orders. Removal of the “good faith” standard for changes after publication also preserves the ability for commissioners to negotiate and alter language up to the final vote without fear of legal challenge. That is a significant improvement.
“Ultimately, this is a bill about process, and few government processes are wholly perfect. We still believe that this bill, although less concerning than before, remains unnecessary. The current FCC Chairman has demonstrated well how, when the Administrative Procedures Act is adhered to faithfully, the public can have adequate time to comment and influence the outcome.
We appreciate the Energy and Commerce Majority team’s collaboration and look forward to working with Congress on this issue.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.