Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) plans to introduce a bill in the next few days, the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, to do what its name suggests.
Authorization bills establish, or reestablish as in this case, a federal agency, including the terms under which it operates and how funds may be spent.
As a result, it could be a vehicle for FCC reforms.
Thune pointed out in an FCC oversight hearing Wednesday, that the agency has not been re-authorized in a quarter century, the longest such gap for any agency the committee oversees, he said.
He said it was the committee's responsibility to reauthorize it for the sake of its constituents who are increasingly affected "by a regulatory agency with a nearly half a billion dollar budget."
"It is time for this committee to regularly reauthorize the agency as a part of its regular business," he said.
Thune said it was his intention to mark up the bill—amend if necessary and vote on it if possible—in the next few weeks.
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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.