House telecom panel reaches agreement on TV law

The leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has reached a bipartisan agreement on an upcoming satellite television bill.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) — chairman of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications — said late on Tuesday that he subcommittee ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) have reached an agreement on the Republican bill to reauthorize a satellite television bill.


That bill — the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) — governs the satellite television market, and parts of it are set to expire at the end of the year.

“This agreement underscores the bipartisan commitment to advance legislation that will ensure that 1.5 million Americans in rural areas will continue to receive the satellite television services on which they rely,” Walden said in a statement.

Earlier this year, House Commerce Republicans introduced a bill to reauthorize STELA and make other tweaks to the video marketplace.

The bill was met with Democratic opposition, largely over a provision that would have prevented the Federal Communications Commission from taking planned action to cut down on collusion between broadcasters.

Under the bipartisan compromise bill announced Tuesday to be considered at a markup beginning Wednesday, broadcasters will have more time to unwind the business deals banned by the FCC in March.

The new bill also calls for government studies on issues that Democrats expressed concerns about when the original bill was marked up earlier this year.

“It’s imperative that we get this legislation to the president’s desk before the end of the year,” Walden said, thanking Eshoo “and other members of the committee for their hard work and collaboration to help make this happen.”

Walden said that he looks “forawrd to advancing this ‘must pass’ legislation this week and its speedy approval by the full House.”