House Schedules Hearing on FCC Budget

The House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for March 4 on the FCC's 2016 budget request.

“Is the FCC best positioned to handle the challenges of the innovation era? Americans’ demand for state-of-the-art communications and technology platforms for interacting and conducting business continues to grow," said subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) in announcing the hearing. "This hearing is a part of our ongoing effort to modernize the federal government and ensure that the FCC has the tools to transparently and efficiently carry out its mission on behalf of the American people.”

The hearing comes in advance of Congress' plan to reauthorize the commission. The FCC has not been reauthorized in almost a quarter of a century. “Our work is overdue to say the least. Joe Montana was king of the football world and Tom Brady was barely a teen the last time Congress authorized the FCC,”said Walden. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told B&C/Multichannel News last week that FCC reauthorization was on his to do list as well.

The FCC asked for $388,000,000 for FY2016. That is up from the $375,380,313 it asked for in FY2015, attributable almost entirely to the need to either move to a new headquarters or "restacking" the current space given the expiration of the FCC's lease. Doing so will save the FCC $119 million over 15 years, the FCC has said.

The FCC's budget is entirely covered by regulatory fees, in addition to which the commission will be generating billions for the treasury through its ongoing spectrum auctions.

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.