WASHINGTON - The House has unanimously approved a bill authored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) to reform the Federal Communications Commission.
The vote took place Tuesday night on the FCC Process Reform Act (H.R. 3675), which Walden said aims to increase transparency, predictability and accountability at the commission. Walden is chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has oversight responsibilities for the FCC.
"The communications sector is one of the most innovative, competitive, and robust sectors of our economy. But for innovation and investment to continue in communications, we must not weigh industry down with needless red tape and delay," Walden said.
"Communications and technology companies, as well as consumers who enjoy their products and benefits deserve a transparent and responsive government agency. While agency process has improved under recent chairmen, this legislation will ensure that reforms remain in place from one administration to the next."
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As an example of bad process at the FCC, Walden cited a recent "study" proposed by the commission to monitor content in newsrooms. The FCC recently agreed to drop the study after Walden and others blew the whistle on this threat to the First Amendment.
"Late last year, the FCC issued a notice for a study that would call into question the editorial decisions of journalists in their own newsrooms, which I think threatens their First Amendment rights. Somehow, an item as controversial as this study made it through the FCC without so much as a Commission vote. Americans deserve greater accountability and transparency from their government," Walden said.
This measure is the third bill authored by Walden to pass the House unanimously within the past year. Last May, the House unanimously okayed Walden's bill to promote internet freedom. In October, the body unanimously approved the Central Oregon Jobs and Water Security Act, authored by Walden. The Senate has not yet held a vote on any of these three bipartisan bills, his office said.