Spectrum dropped from payroll tax deal

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 It also would have created a nationwide public safety wireless network, which is one of the last outstanding recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The network would allow first responders to send videos and other data during emergencies and would help officials from different agencies communicate with each other.

The House version would have raised about $15 billion from the spectrum auctions to offset the cost of extending the payroll tax holiday.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sponsored the Senate version of the spectrum legislation, S. 911.

“I’m deeply disappointed that measures to create a first responder communications network were not included in the larger year-end package,” Rockefeller said in a news release Saturday.  

“Our police officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel across America need to be able to rely on a nationwide, interoperable communications network when the unimaginable happens. Although we didn’t get this done within today’s agreement, I intend to push hard in the coming weeks to work out a suitable compromise with the House."

Although the broad outline of the spectrum legislation is popular with both parties, Democrats argued the House version would have micromanaged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and hampered the agency's ability to conduct the spectrum auctions.

The parties also disagreed over the management of the public safety network.