Walden: FCC reform efforts good, but bill still needed

The Federal Communications Commission’s self-led reform process is a good step, but congressional action is still needed, according to a top Republican overseeing the agency.

While the FCC's reform efforts largely mirror Congress's attempts to reform the agency, Congress should legislate to make those reforms permanent, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) — chairman of the Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Communications — said Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Last week, the FCC released an internal report on its attempts to reform agency process. The report contains more than 150 recommendations, many of which are aimed at modernizing, streamlining and making more transparent the agency’s decision-making processes.

The agency’s internal reform process comes as Congress is increasingly putting pressure on the FCC to update its processes. 

The House Commerce Committee voted to unanimously last year to approve a bipartisan FCC Process Reform bill backed by Walden and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member on the Communications subcommittee.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate earlier this month, though Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has said any reform efforts should come from within the agency.

In a statement, Walden commended the FCC for its report on internal reform but said that congressional action is still necessary to ensure the reforms are lasting.

“I am pleased that many of the recommendations of the working group are so closely aligned with those contained in [the House Commerce Committee’s FCC Reform Process Act] and look forward to their implementation,” he said.

“However, without enshrining these reforms in statute, their future will always be at the whim of whomever may be appointed chair.”