Upton, Walden question president's wireless, public safety proposals

Upton said: "In 2010, the FCC’s national broadband plan found that both our public safety and wireless broadband goals would be better met by auctioning the D Block – a conclusion that garnered bipartisan support in the Energy and Commerce Committee." Ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif) endorsed the proposal last year. 

"I hope the President’s upcoming budget will shed light on how these proposals will produce the revenue he is proposing to spend and still achieve our public safety, wireless broadband, and deficit reduction priorities."

Upton and Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) also questioned devoting more federal dollars to wireless connectivity. The president's announcement came the same day they held a hearing on waste and fraud in stimulus spending devoted to broadband deployment. 

"It will be important to remember the colloquial definition of ‘insanity’: repeating the same actions and expecting different results,” he said.

The White House has said its wireless initiative will ultimately reduce the deficit through money raised in incentive spectrum auctions, which allow broadcasters to sell off spectrum.

"While I would welcome most any plan that actually raises $27.8 billion, I would caution against turning around and spending the majority of it in the current economic environment," Upton said.

Obama has proposed to devote $5 billion in a one-time investment in the FCC's Universal Service Fund. Another $10 billion will be devote to the public safety network.