Pallone to Chair House Energy & Commerce Committee

As expected, the House Democratic Caucus has elected Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) as the new chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over communications issues and the FCC.

He succeeds Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) with the changeover of control of the House to the Democrats in January.

“I thank my Democratic colleagues for their support in electing me chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee," he said following the vote, which was unanimous. "There is no better committee in Congress, and I am so fortunate to have the support of my colleagues in leading this committee in the 116th Congress."

Related: Rep. Pallone Calls for FCC Oversight Hearing

Pallone has been the ranking member of the committee as well as a critic of FCC chair Ajit Pai and his deregulatory policies, including deeding primary network neutrality oversight to the Federal Trade Commission.

“I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to build a stronger economy, create more good-paying jobs and protect consumers from skyrocketing costs," Pallone said following the vote, which was unanimous. "In the coming months, we will push an aggressive agenda to rebuild America, combat climate change, make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, and protect peoples’ privacy. We’ll also conduct robust oversight of the Trump Administration’s ongoing actions to sabotage our health care system, exacerbate climate change and weaken consumer protections.” 

Among the bones Pallone has to pick with Pai are the latter's handling of merger reviews, his handling of the net neutrality comment docket, and FCC broadband subsidy policies. 

Broadcasters welcomed Pallone's support of extra money for the post-incentive auction repack, though the congressman made clear he was doing it to insure consumers were not left without signals.

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.