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Waxman Urges Action on Wireless Proposals in American Jobs Act

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) Friday called on Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). to act quickly on the communications and energy proposals in the President's just-announced American Jobs Act that are within the committee's jurisdiction. Upton is also a member of the bipartisan deficit reduction committee the President has called on to find the money to pay for that jobs plan.

Incentive auction legislation is expected to be part of that legislation given the White House fact sheet outlining the plan.

"Some key measures in the American Jobs Act are within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Energy and Commerce," wrote Waxman, "They include proposals to expand access to high speed wireless, energy projects financed by the National Infrastructure Bank, and others. Given the urgency of the jobs crisis faced by millions of Americans, I hope you will agree to immediate consideration of these vital measures," he said, including scheduling any hearings and markups on the relevant portions, which would include on broadcast incentive auctions, which is one of the ways the President is trying to boost advanced wireless broadband deployment to 98% of the country and build out the interoperable broadband emergency communications network. 

Those are the auctions that would raise money and free up wireless spectrum by reclaiming up to 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum and auctioning it.

The President did not release the omnibus legislation he is proposing -- a National Association of Broadcasters spokesperson said they had seen no actual bill -- but the White House did send out a fact sheet, one section of which under the heading "Expanding Access to High-Speed Wireless in a Fiscally Responsible Way," called for a "deficit reduction" play of "deploy[ing]high-speed wireless services to at least 98% of Americans, including those in more remote rural communities, while freeing up spectrum through incentive auctions, spurring innovation, and creating a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety."  The president outlined the 98% goal in his state of the Union as a national priority, and has come out in favor of the incentive auctions.