Spectrum inventory, caller ID bills head to House floor next week

Bills that would study available radio spectrum and set new caller ID rules will greet House lawmakers during their first week back from spring recess.

Both the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act, piloted by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif), and the Truth in Caller ID Act, spearheaded by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), could come up for their respective floor votes as early as next Wednesday, according to a tentative schedule released on Thursday by House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) office.

Waxman's bill, which cleared his House Energy and Commerce Committee with bipartisan support in early March, would direct the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC to study radio spectrum and report elements of it that remain under-utilized.

The goal is to "make better use of spectrum frequencies through sharing and reallocation and will encourage both innovation and competitiveness," Waxman wrote in a post to The Hill's Congress Blog. A version of that proposal piloted by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) is still pending action in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Engel's legislation would prohibit companies from faking their caller ID data in an attempt to deceive consumers -- a process known as "spoofing."

The congressman's legislation also cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier last month with both Democratic and GOP support, after months of wrangling over concerns that the bill's anti-spoofing rules could hamper federal investigators who hide their caller ID data to throw off possible suspects.