Wheeler, Pai Scheduled for Senate Approps Hearing

The FCC oversight road show continues Tuesday in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The hearing is to review the FCC's 2017 budget request and follows one last month in the House Appropriations Committee.

The witnesses will be the same: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and senior Republican Ajit Pai.

Wheeler was hit pretty hard over the issue of joints sales agreements at that hearing, but there could be other issues on the minds of Senate legislators.

The Senate hearing comes only days after the most contentious meeting of Wheeler's chairmanship, following the collapse of a compromise proposal, which Pai had supported and essentially proposed, on extending lifeline telecom subsidies to broadband, Pai charged that Wheeler helped engineer the collapse of a deal he was not party to. "Balderdash!," responded Wheeler.

The compromise would have capped the lifeline subsidy, something Republican legislators support.

Combined with oversight hearings in the Senate Commerce and House Communications Subcommittee that featured all five commissioners, it will be the fourth Hill appearance as witnesses in about as many weeks for the pair.

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.