Key holdouts endorse public safety plan

Two key supporters of a public safety plan authored by the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) have changed positions to support a White House proposal instead.

The chairmen of the 9/11 Commission switched their positions to back a spectrum plan offered by key senators and endorsed by the Obama administration. 

The holdouts in question were former Republican New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), both of whom had been frequently invoked by those who want a D-Block auction rather than a direct allocation of airwaves to public safety agencies. 

Public safety officials praised their decision to announce this support in a hearing Wednesday. 

Sean Kirkendall, a spokesman for the Public Safety Alliance, said the group "warmly welcomes" the endorsement and thanks them "for their continued leadership on this important issue."

If the FCC is to directly allocate airwaves to public safety, it needs a new law. Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has introduced legislation, as has House Homeland Security Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.).

It's unclear whether the proposal can get support from House Republicans worried about cost.