Debt deal doesn’t address spectrum sales

{mosads}Reid’s plan also would have allocated the D Block section of spectrum for use by emergency responders and would have set aside $7 billion through fiscal 2017 for the creation of a nationwide interoperable public safety network.

The debt-ceiling compromise dropped all of Reid’s spectrum provisions.

Broadcasters, who attacked Reid’s original bill, praised the lack of spectrum auctions in the most recent debt-ceiling proposal.

“We are pleased that the negotiated debt-ceiling bill, to be considered by Congress, does not threaten free and local broadcasting,” said former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), now the head of the National Association of Broadcasters. “NAB will continue working with lawmakers on incentive auction legislation that is truly voluntary.”

Separate spectrum allocation bills are still pending in both chambers of Congress. A joint congressional committee that would be tasked with exploring further deficit reduction under the debt-ceiling compromise could propose spectrum auctions as a way to raise government revenue.

Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the author of a bill to allocate the D Block for first responders, criticized the debt deal in a statement on Monday. 

“I am disappointed that the House failed to make communications safer and more reliable for first responders.  We had hoped that a version of our legislation would have been in the deficit package this week,” Rockefeller said. “Despite that setback, I will continue to fight to make sure that by the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we have this bill signed into law.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the ranking member of Energy and Commerce’s technology subcommittee, expressed optimism that lawmakers would eventually reach a spectrum agreement.

“The House Republicans rejected all provisions that raise revenue, including spectrum. That said, we need to get spectrum policy right the first time around, and take the time necessary to create broad, bipartisan consensus,” Eshoo said. 

“I believe that the Subcommittee is working toward a bipartisan bill that will create a nationwide, interoperable communications network for first responders, and support consumer’s increasing demand for fast, ubiquitous wireless broadband.”

This post was updated at 5:00p.m.

Tags Jay Rockefeller

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