Communications & Technology

Subcommittee

Subcommittee on Communications & Technology

Electronic communications, both Interstate and foreign, including voice, video, audio and data, whether transmitted by wire or wirelessly, and whether transmitted by telecommunications, commercial or private mobile service, broadcast, cable, satellite, microwave, or other mode; technology generally; emergency and public safety communications; cybersecurity, privacy, and data security; the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security; and all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.

Subcommittees News & Announcements


Chair Rodgers Blasts FCC’s Unlawful Decision to Subsidize Wi-Fi Hotspots

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today released a statement condemning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) following the agency’s approval of a rule to allow the E-rate program to support Wi-Fi hotspots for use off school property.  “This expansion of E-rate funding to cover off school property violates federal law and will result in taxpayer dollars subsidizing children’s unsupervised internet access while failing to improve learning outcomes for children. Furthermore, the E-rate program is notorious for overbuilding and other wasteful spending. Rather than take steps to address the existing problems with the E-rate program, the FCC is doubling down to advance Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s pet projects. The FCC should instead be working with Congress to advance its policy goals.”  On July 31, 2023 , Chair Rodgers and Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to Chairwoman Rosenworcel expressing their opposition to her proposal to vastly expand the E-Rate program.  On September 28, 2023 , Chair Rodgers and Senator Cruz sent a letter to the then newly sworn-in FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez urging her to oppose FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's plan to expand the E-rate program beyond school classrooms and libraries. 



Chairs Rodgers and Latta Press NTIA Over Failure to Respond to Congressional Oversight

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) today sent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Alan Davidson a letter demanding an explanation for the Agency’s repeated failures to respond to questions for the record (QFRs) in a timely manner. Congress has a responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive branch, and the NTIA’s failure to be responsive and transparent undermines our system of checks and balances. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “We expect NTIA to take seriously our oversight efforts and respond to QFRs and letters promptly. After the hearing on December 5, 2023, it took you 107 days to submit your answers to the QFRs, far exceeding the 2-week deadline. “We received answers to QFRs from the December oversight hearing on the same day that we announced the May NTIA oversight hearing. It is unacceptable that in order to receive responses to QFRs from an oversight hearing, we must introduce more oversight activity.” The Chairs requested answers to the following questions:   During our May 15, 2024, oversight hearing, when questioned about the untimeliness of NTIA’s responses, you said, “I don't know all the details about why each of those took so long, and I would be happy to get back to you. I think the process of writing the QFRs were quite lengthy.” Please describe the process of drafting QFR responses. During that same hearing, you also said “We have to get them [(responses to QFRs)] all cleared through a complex internal interagency process, and that often slows us down.” Please explain each of the steps in this process. How can this interagency process be adjusted to ensure that NTIA responds promptly to the Committee’s requests? CLICK HERE to read the full letter.



Rodgers, Comer, House GOP Committee Leaders Demand Federal Agencies Adhere to Recent Chevron Reversal

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Oversight and Acoountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) sent letters to eight federal agencies today following the recent Supreme Court decision on Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo , in which the court overruled Chevron deference. Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) joined Chairs Rodgers and Comer on an additional letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “We write to call to your attention Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, a recent Supreme Court decision that precludes courts from deferring to agency interpretations when the statutes are ambiguous. In its decision, the Court explicitly overruled Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), which required deference to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. By allowing such deference, the Court in Chevron enabled the ‘Administrative State’ to usurp the legislative authority that the Constitution grants exclusively to Congress in Article I. The Chevron decision led to broader, more costly and more invasive agency regulation of Americans’ lives, liberty, and property.   “Perhaps no administration has gone as far as President Biden’s in issuing sweeping Executive edicts based on questionable assertions of agency authority. The Biden administration has promulgated far more major rules, imposing vast costs and paperwork burdens, than either its most recent predecessors. Many of these rules...have been based on overreaching interpretations of statutes enacted by Congress years ago, before the issues now regulated were even imagined.   “The expansive Chevron deference has undermined our system of government, creating an unaccountable Administrative State. Thankfully, the Court has now corrected this pattern, reaffirming that ‘[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’ Given the Biden administration’s record of agency overreach, we are compelled to underscore the implications of Loper Bright and remind you of the limitations it has set on your authority.”   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Communications Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Trade Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to Department of Commerce.   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Department of Energy.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.


Subcommittee Members

(28)

Chairman Communications and Technology

Bob Latta

R

Ohio – District 5

Vice Chair Communications and Technology

Randy Weber

R

Texas – District 14

Ranking Member Communications and Technology

Doris Matsui

D

California – District 7

Gus Bilirakis

R

Florida – District 12

Tim Walberg

R

Michigan – District 5

Buddy Carter

R

Georgia – District 1

Neal Dunn, M.D.

R

Florida – District 2

John Curtis

R

Utah – District 3

John Joyce

R

Pennsylvania – District 13

Rick Allen

R

Georgia – District 12

Russ Fulcher

R

Idaho – District 1

August Pfluger

R

Texas – District 11

Diana Harshbarger

R

Tennessee – District 1

Mariannette Miller-Meeks

R

Iowa – District 1

Kat Cammack

R

Florida – District 3

Jay Obernolte

R

California – District 23

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

R

Washington – District 5

Yvette Clarke

D

New York – District 9

Marc Veasey

D

Texas – District 33

Darren Soto

D

Florida – District 9

Anna Eshoo

D

California – District 16

Tony Cardenas

D

California – District 29

Angie Craig

D

Minnesota – District 2

Lizzie Fletcher

D

Texas – District 7

Debbie Dingell

D

Michigan – District 6

Ann Kuster

D

New Hampshire – District 2

Robin Kelly

D

Illinois – District 2

Frank Pallone

D

New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters


Chairs Rodgers and Latta Press NTIA Over Failure to Respond to Congressional Oversight

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) today sent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Alan Davidson a letter demanding an explanation for the Agency’s repeated failures to respond to questions for the record (QFRs) in a timely manner. Congress has a responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive branch, and the NTIA’s failure to be responsive and transparent undermines our system of checks and balances. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “We expect NTIA to take seriously our oversight efforts and respond to QFRs and letters promptly. After the hearing on December 5, 2023, it took you 107 days to submit your answers to the QFRs, far exceeding the 2-week deadline. “We received answers to QFRs from the December oversight hearing on the same day that we announced the May NTIA oversight hearing. It is unacceptable that in order to receive responses to QFRs from an oversight hearing, we must introduce more oversight activity.” The Chairs requested answers to the following questions:   During our May 15, 2024, oversight hearing, when questioned about the untimeliness of NTIA’s responses, you said, “I don't know all the details about why each of those took so long, and I would be happy to get back to you. I think the process of writing the QFRs were quite lengthy.” Please describe the process of drafting QFR responses. During that same hearing, you also said “We have to get them [(responses to QFRs)] all cleared through a complex internal interagency process, and that often slows us down.” Please explain each of the steps in this process. How can this interagency process be adjusted to ensure that NTIA responds promptly to the Committee’s requests? CLICK HERE to read the full letter.



Rodgers, Comer, House GOP Committee Leaders Demand Federal Agencies Adhere to Recent Chevron Reversal

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Oversight and Acoountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) sent letters to eight federal agencies today following the recent Supreme Court decision on Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo , in which the court overruled Chevron deference. Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) joined Chairs Rodgers and Comer on an additional letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “We write to call to your attention Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, a recent Supreme Court decision that precludes courts from deferring to agency interpretations when the statutes are ambiguous. In its decision, the Court explicitly overruled Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), which required deference to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. By allowing such deference, the Court in Chevron enabled the ‘Administrative State’ to usurp the legislative authority that the Constitution grants exclusively to Congress in Article I. The Chevron decision led to broader, more costly and more invasive agency regulation of Americans’ lives, liberty, and property.   “Perhaps no administration has gone as far as President Biden’s in issuing sweeping Executive edicts based on questionable assertions of agency authority. The Biden administration has promulgated far more major rules, imposing vast costs and paperwork burdens, than either its most recent predecessors. Many of these rules...have been based on overreaching interpretations of statutes enacted by Congress years ago, before the issues now regulated were even imagined.   “The expansive Chevron deference has undermined our system of government, creating an unaccountable Administrative State. Thankfully, the Court has now corrected this pattern, reaffirming that ‘[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’ Given the Biden administration’s record of agency overreach, we are compelled to underscore the implications of Loper Bright and remind you of the limitations it has set on your authority.”   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Communications Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Trade Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to Department of Commerce.   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Department of Energy.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.



Jul 9, 2024
Press Release

E&C Leaders Open Investigation into NTIA’s IIJA BEAD Funding Deployment, Citing Abnormal Lack of Transparency and Allegations of Rate Regulation

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) requested all communications between the agency and state broadband offices related to Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Initial Proposals. The letter comes amid concerns that NTIA is unlawfully pressuring states to rate regulate low-cost broadband plans required by the BEAD Program and following a May 15, 2024, hearing at which Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson committed to being more transparent about BEAD funding decision making.  KEY EXCERPT :  “Based on anecdotal evidence from different entities involved in the process, it appears that the NTIA may be evaluating initial proposals counter to Congressional intent and in violation of the law. Several Members of Congress have directly raised to you that the NTIA, through its review of initial proposals, is unlawfully regulating the rate of broadband through BEAD’s low-cost service option in direct conflict with the IIJA, which states: ‘Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the Assistant Secretary or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to regulate the rates charged for broadband service.’9 During Senate floor debate on the IIJA, Members of Congress agreed that this language meant that ‘no rate regulation of broadband services would be authorized or permitted by the NTIA or the Assistant Secretary who leads the NTIA as part of the state broadband grant program.’” “States have reported that the NTIA is directing them to set rates and conditioning approval of initial proposals on doing so. This undoubtedly constitutes rate regulation by the NTIA. Indeed, one state publicly posted the NTIA’s feedback that the agency would not approve their initial proposal without ’an exact price or formula’ for the state’s low-cost option. Without visibility into the approval process, Congress in unable to determine how widespread this practice is. When asked about this at oversight hearings, your responses have failed to provide clarity.”  BACKGROUND:  Congress appropriated an unprecedented $42.45 billion through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for the NTIA to administer the BEAD program.   The program was intended to ensure that all Americans, specifically those in unserved or underserved areas, have access to broadband.   The NTIA is responsible for managing and distributing this money to the states and territories.  The IIJA prohibits the NTIA from rate regulation.  The IIJA established a process for how states receive money from the NTIA for this program.   First, each of the 56 individual states and territories (state entities) were required to submit an Initial Proposal explaining their proposed process for awarding the funds.   The NTIA was then tasked with reviewing and approving each individual states entities’ proposal, after which funds would be allocated to the state to award.   Some states report that the NTIA is conditioning approval of their Initial Proposals on setting a specific price for low-cost broadband plans despite the prohibition on rate regulation.  Despite every state entity having submitted their initial proposals by the December 27, 2023, deadline, the NTIA has only approved 16 initial proposals as of the date of this letter.   Due to the opaque nature of the NTIA’s review and approval process, the Committee lacks the information necessary to assess whether NTIA is pressuring states to rate regulate and to understand why so few state entities initial proposals have been approved to move forward.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Assistant Secretary Davidson.