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House Passes FCC Process Reform Act

As expected, the House Monday passed the FCC Process Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 2583) by voice vote.

The baseline bill, which passed the House with bipartisan support in the last Congress, gives the FCC a year to set minimum comment periods, establishes procedures for putting specific language of a proposed rule in notices of proposed rulemaking, and comes up with performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness of rules.

The bill passed out of a divided E&C in June.

The bill includes three Democratic amendments that 1) "require a report on actions the Commission can take to improve the participation of small businesses in FCC proceedings, publication on the FCC’s website of the status of a quarterly progress report, and publication of any internal policies established or changed by the Chairman."

“We commend Chairmen Upton and Walden and Ranking Members Pallone and Eshoo for their bipartisan efforts to improve the FCC’s transparency, efficiency and accountability," said USTelecom Walter McCormick. "The legislation is an important step that will provide for streamlined regulatory processes and increased regulatory certainty. We also want to commend Representatives Kinzinger, Matsui, Clarke, and Loebsack for making significant contributions to this bill. We look forward to working with the Senate to get this common sense legislation enacted.”

“This bill is the product of a multi-year, bipartisan legislative process, bringing us to a place where we can at least begin to create a framework for more transparent and predictable rulemakings at the FCC,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) of the bipartisan bill he helped motorman. “Process reform isn’t about the actions of one party, or one chairman. This is about putting rules into place that will carry over from one administration to the next, creating consistency and certainty for the many that are subject to the commission’s rules.”

The bill must now pass the Senate, then get the President's signature.

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.