FCC members headed back to Capitol Hill

FCC members headed back to Capitol Hill
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The five members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are heading back to Capitol Hill.

The commissioners, including Chairman Tom Wheeler, will testify at a July 12 hearing held by the tech subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel said on Tuesday afternoon.

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“The FCC continues to push the limits of congressional patience, grab jurisdiction from other agencies, and leave the marketplace bewildered and confused,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the subcommittee's chairman, in a statement.

“Pledges of openness and transparency have failed to materialize. Meanwhile, it appears not just Republicans on the commission are kept in the dark on major policy proposals. This is not make believe – the consequences are real and the FCC must do better.”

Wheeler is likely to face questions about proposals he has put forward to implement new privacy rules for broadband providers and open up the market for television set-top boxes. Both are seen by conservatives as an example of FCC overreach.

The subcommittee also plans to raise questions about Wheeler’s decision to expand the Lifeline subsidies program for low-income Americans to cover internet service. It had previously only been applied to mobile and landline phone service.

Wheeler has frequently been called before Congress during his tenure — in part because of controversial items on net neutrality and other issues.