Reps. Pallone, Doyle Push for FCC Oversight Hearing

Ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) are pushing their Republican colleagues to hold an FCC oversight hearing by the end of the month.

Communications Subcommittee chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) had signaled at a June 21 broadband hearing that was the plan, but the ranking members want to make sure that happens.

In a letter to Blackburn and E&C chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Pallone and Doyle said Blackburn had provided both private and public assurances of that scheduling.

The letter came the same day that Doyle and Pallone joined in an internet day of action taking aim at one of the FCC's policies the ranking members would like to probe in such an oversight hearing—the rolling back of Title II classification of ISPs. 

Pallone's office said as much in circulating the letter. "The letter comes as the FCC is on the verge of adopting new policies of enormous consequence, particularly the Commission’s efforts to roll back consumers’ net neutrality protections," said an email on Pallone's letterhead.

The pair pointed out that in his first several months in July 2014, then FCC chairman Tom Wheeler (who had been installed in November 2013) had testified before no fewer than a half-dozen House committees, while Pai (who has been in the job since January of this year) had yet to testify before a single one. 

“This Committee has an obligation to perform oversight on behalf of the American people and ensure that the American people understand the consequences of the FCC’s actions," they wrote. "The Committee should not be working to shield the FCC from having to explain its push to install such unpopular policies.”  

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.