Today, the Financial Services Subcommittee marked up its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill without amendments. The bill includes appropriations for the Federal Communications Commission of approximately $315 million — $69 million less than the agency received in 2016 and $43 million below the requested amount.
The legislation also prohibits the FCC from implementing its landmark Open Internet Order pending a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and requires the agency to make all proposed regulations publicly available 21 days before a Commission vote. Additionally, it prohibits the FCC from regulating broadband rates and prevents the FCC from moving forward on its set-top box Notice of Proposed Rulemaking pending further study.
The following statement can be attributed to Kate Forscey, Government Affairs Associate Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“We are disappointed that the majority has hijacked what should be a straightforward bipartisan appropriations process and used it as yet another vehicle for dictating policies that directly harm consumers and undermine competition. By significantly reducing funding by $69 million, the bill strips the FCC of critical resources needed to promote the public interest and in particular to prevent internet discrimination and protect consumers from price gouging.
“In addition, a new rider attacks the FCC's recent proposed rulemaking which seeks to revolutionize the video device and app marketplace, something consumers everywhere have applauded. We hope that when all is said and done, Congress will see reason and leave policy making to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, rather than sneaking it into appropriations bills that undermine the ability of our government to do its job.”
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.