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Overnight Tech: Lawmakers get to work on wireless broadband

LEDE: Both chambers of Congress look at wireless issues on Wednesday.

First, at 10 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee holds a hearing on barriers to mobile broadband deployment as part of its ongoing examination of wireless broadband that included a July hearing on spectrum policy.

"For Americans in rural communities, access to technological innovation is increasingly dependent on the availability of robust wireless networks," said Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions MORE (R-S.D.), in a statement. "This hearing will examine barriers, regulatory and otherwise, to the deployment of wireless broadband facilities, infrastructure, and service." 

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It's part of a push before the panel introduces spectrum reform legislation.

At a hearing by the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce, subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will call for moving legislation as well.

"While the speed of innovation in technology is blindingly fast, the timeline for reallocating spectrum often is reflective of the tangled bureaucracy of government, and the fiscal and operational restraints on agencies," Walden is expected to say. "This conflict illustrates the urgent need for legislation to reform the federal system, bring about predictable and transparent auction rules, and provide clear incentives for agencies to free up under-used, or unneeded, spectrum."

That could be the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act, which the subcommittee will be reviewing, which would allow for a federal spectrum auction. They will also review legislation that requires the FCC to submit drafts of their auction plans to Congress.

FORMER SCHUMER AIDE BECOMES DISH'S POLICY DIRECTOR: Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE's (D-N.Y.) former campaign finance director is becoming director of governmental affairs at Dish. Jessica Straus, who has worked as a lobbyist for the company since 2011, was promoted to oversee public policy and outreach to lawmakers. The director position did not exist before. She previously worked as Schumer's campaign finance director. She also helped with finance for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBiden plays it cool as Trump refuses to concede The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Bottom line MORE's (D-Calif.) campaign.

FCC TURNS DOWN EARLY NET NEUTRALITY COMPLAINT: The Federal Communications Commission has waived off one of first net neutrality complaints filed after the rules took effect earlier this summer. The Washington Post reported Commercial Network Services recently received word from the commission that it was taking no action on its complaint. The company had lodged complaints that Time Warner Cable was charging unfair prices to transfer the company's video to customers. But many legal experts has cast doubt on the merits of the accusation. 

SUPREME COURT CURBS 'LINE STANDERS': During major Supreme Court cases, seats to attend oral arguments in the court are a hot ticket -- partly because the forums are not streamed live. Some lawyers and members of the public in the past have hired so-called line standers, who hold a place in line until their employer shows up. But the Supreme Court is banning the practice for lawyers, according to an announcement this week. Multiple lines form outside the court, including one for the public and one for lawyers who are members of the Supreme Court bar. Line standers will no longer be able to hold a place in the lawyer line. 

MCMORRIS RODGERS OPINES ON CONGRESSIONAL TECH CHALLENGES: Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees | Peterson loss prompts scramble for House Agriculture chair Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform MORE (R-Wash.), chair of the House Republican Conference, penned a Medium post arguing Congress should learn lessons from companies like Uber and Instagram to update the way it operates -- in particular, how it interacts with constituents. 

"With the digital revolution of the last decade, Congress has pondered a number of 'technology' issues -- important concerns about net neutrality, patents, and cyber security -- but the most fundamental tech challenge we face is not in the laws proposed to govern existing technology, but in our own way of doing business and crafting policies," she wrote. 

GOOGLE FACES ORDER FROM RUSSIAN ANTITRUST REGULATOR: Google has been told by the Russian government that it has to change the agreements it has with smartphone providers, Bloomberg reported. It followed a Russian company's complaint that Android favored Google's own services. It is just one of the antitrust challenges that Google has faced around the world: the company is currently battling charges from Europe's competition regulator that its search results favor its own services. 

AT&T GETS WAIVER FROM FCC: The FCC has given AT&T a waiver that will allow it to begin offering Wi-Fi calling. But the company has continued its pushback against T-Mobile and Sprint, who it says are offering Wi-Fi calling in violation of the commission's rules. "We're grateful the FCC has granted AT&T's waiver request so we can begin providing Wi-Fi calling," said Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs. "At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time."

ON TAP:

At 8:30 a.m., the Information Technology Industry Council is holding an event on sustainable transportation and the Internet of things that will feature remarks from Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska GOP senators pan debate: 'S---show,' 'awful,' 'embarrassment' MORE (R-Neb.). 

At 10 a.m., Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass) will hold a call urging the GOP to drop its push to include a budget rider to block net neutrality rules. 

At 10 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on mobile broadband. 

At 10:15 a.m., a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on federal spectrum issues. 

At 3 p.m., Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Biden rolls out national security team Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Del.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) will participate in a Google Hangout to discuss why "patents matter more than ever."

IN CASE YOU MISSED: 

Apple's procedures for complying with antitrust rules have improved since a court-appointed monitor began examinations of the company, the monitor said in a report made public on Tuesday.

Congress has concerns about a controversy where an employee of DraftKings, a fast-growing daily fantasy sports site, inappropriately released game data and later won money on a rival site.

Large technology companies and trade groups are expressing displeasure at a government reversal last month that delayed thousands of immigrants from filing paperwork for permanent residency. 

The White House is successfully pushing technology companies -- from Kickstarter to Instacart -- to roll out campaigns to help with the refugee crisis in Syria.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE (R-Fla.), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, on Tuesday called for tax code reforms and easing regulations to help on-demand economy companies like Uber and Airbnb flourish.

Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com

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