Doyle Named Ranking Member on Communications

The House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats have lined up their new members and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) will no longer be ranking member. That honor falls to Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania.

Eshoo signaled it was time to pass the torch, as it were.

“During my time as Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, I have advocated for American consumers, advanced competition, worked to keep the internet open, accessible and free; delivered greater broadband deployment, increased public access to the internet, and advanced the use of technology across all sectors of our economy as it has become integral to our daily lives," she said. "But such a privilege is something to be shared, not hoarded. I believe that everyone in our Caucus has a great deal to offer and that our Party’s leaders should be chosen based on merit, energy and integrity, all hallmarks of my congressional district."

“Senior members like myself must consider the best interest of our Party and our need to develop leaders for the future. In other words, it’s time to walk my talk. I therefore am not seeking to be reelected Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee."

She said she hoped to retain her seat on the subcommittee—she does—and said she hoped to be named to the Health Subcommittee—she was.

“It is a great privilege to be able to serve as Ranking Member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee – and it’s a great opportunity to try to help shape US policy in this important sector of our economy," Said Doyle.

“We face serious challenges in the 115th Congress.  Republicans are already talking about rolling back the Open Internet Order and enacting policies that will hurt innovators and consumers. I believe such an approach will also slow job creation and economic growth. We will work hard to make sure that the interests of consumers and innovators are represented – and defended – at both the subcommittee and full committee levels.

“That being said, I believe that there are many goals that we share with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.  Expanded broadband deployment, increased access to broadband, higher speeds – both on wired and wireless services – and a modern and robust public safety communications system are principles that we all agree on.  My hope is that we can we come together on a bipartisan agenda that advances the interests of all Americans.”

Also on the Communications Subcommittee are Peter Welch (Vt.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), David Loebsack (Iowa), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.), Bobby Rush (Ill.), Eshoo, Eliot Engel (N.Y.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.) and Frank Pallone (N.J.) (ex officio).

The assignments were announced by Pallone, who is ranking member of the full committee.

New to the committee are Engel, Ruiz and Dingell, the last the wife of former Committee and Subcommittee icon John Dingell, famed for his "one word answer" questions at hearings. 

Gone from the subcommittee are John Yarmuth (Ky.), Diana DeGette (Colo.), and Ben Lujan (N.M.). Yarmuth is moving to the Budget Committee, while Lujan was bumped by the more senior Engel. DeGette move to the Health Subcommittee, a big draw given the healthcare fight, and did not want to give up her ranking spot on Oversight, so gave up her Communications spot.

“I want to congratulate my friend Congresswoman Anna Eshoo on her outstanding legacy as Ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. "We are in the early stages of a technology-driven network revolution, and Anna’s leadership during this critical stage in history has helped our country navigate the challenges of this new era.  From ensuring that networks remain free and open, to advancing the cause of unlicensed spectrum, to advocating on behalf of competitors, Anna has left an indelible mark on US technology policy.  It has been an honor to work with her.”

“Congressman Doyle has been a great leader on the vital telecommunications and tech issues facing our country. The Congressman has led the charge on issues from increasing broadband deployment, to keeping the Internet fast, fair and open, to ensuring that all regions of the country have access to modern and robust public safety communications systems. His constituents, the Committee, and consumers and innovators throughout our country are lucky to have such a strong voice as Congressman Doyle.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.