House panel to review FCC management

A key House panel will meet this month to review management and spending at the Federal Communications Commission.

The House Commerce subcommittee on communications is holding a hearing on Sept. 17, panel Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced on Tuesday, as part of its ongoing work to review the existing telecommunications law and plan for an update.

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“Continuous oversight of federal agencies ensures that government works in the best interests of the people it serves,” Walden said in a statement.

“This hearing will help us learn more about the commission’s processes and results, which will inform our work moving forward,” he added, including the planned overhaul of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

FCC Managing Director Jon Wilkins and Inspector General David Hunt are scheduled to testify, the subcommittee said.

The hearing follows the panel’s inquiry to the FCC in June to investigate its workload and backlog. In a letter at the time, lawmakers said that they wanted “to better understand the scope of the Commission’s challenge” in streamlining its operations.  

It also comes on the heels of a number of white papers analyzing the existing communications law that outlines the powers of the FCC but which critics say is out of date. Updating the law will likely take years, but the Energy and Commerce Committee — led by Walden and committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) — has resolved to begin familiarizing itself with flaws in the current law to chart a course forward.