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FCC reform bills put public interest in jeopardy

Monday, March 05, 2012

FCC Reform Bills Add Red Tape, Put Public Interest in Jeopardy
House Committee Markup Scheduled for Tuesday

WASHINGTON, DC – Two bills being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday would hamper the Federal Communication Commission’s ability to protect consumers and promote competition and innovation in the marketplace. The Process Reform Act (H.R. 3309) and the Consolidated Reporting Act (H.R. 3310) aim to restructure the agency’s regulatory process but would merely add to bureaucratic red tape and make it more difficult for the FCC to protect the public interest in its work.
“One of the FCC’s most important roles is to protect American consumers, and these bills simply make that more of a challenge,” said Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. “We agree that there are ways to improve and streamline the FCC decision making process, but not at the sake of the consumer. As the FCC works to promote the public interest, any changes made to the agency should meet that same standard.”
The bills being considered would make the process of considering the public interest for rulemakings and transactions more complicated and less effective. Consumers Union points out that the changes proposed in the legislation would prevent the FCC from fulfilling its Congressional mandate to further the public interest, including reforms that ensure rules adopted by the FCC do not impose any additional burden on the industry, or requiring proof of consumer harm.
“Ultimately these so-called ‘reform’ bills would hamstring the FCC in its attempts to curb anti-consumer and anti-competitive actions. We urge the Committee members to oppose this legislation and look towards more sensible reforms,” said Desai.
The House Energy and Commerce markup is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th at 10 AM. For more information visit www.energycommerce.house.gov.

Contact: David Butler or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262