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Rodgers, Latta Commend Bipartisan Solutions to Improve Public Safety and Spectrum Innovation


07.27.22

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) released the following statement commending the passing of bipartisan legislation to improve spectrum management, innovation, and emergency communications services for Americans. 

“A key component to securing American leadership in next generation communications technology and win the future is by encouraging innovation and making sure more spectrum is available. The bipartisan bills passed today will enhance spectrum management, strengthen public safety communications tools, secure our networks from countries like China, and codify the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences. We applaud Rep. Carter (R-GA), Rep. Walberg (R-MI), as well as the bipartisan efforts of Rep. Doyle (D-PA) and all of the co-sponsors of the Spectrum Innovation Act, which preserves U.S. leadership in wireless technology and entrepreneurship.” 

The following Communications and Technology Subcommittee bills were passed this week with bipartisan support:    

  • ITS Codification Act (H.R. 4990), introduced by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA)  
  • Safe Connections Act (H.R. 7132), introduced by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) 
  • Spectrum Innovation Act (H.R. 7624), introduced by Reps. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) 

Excerpts and highlights from Leader Rodgers’ floor remarks on H.R. 7624, the Spectrum Innovation Act: 

“The Spectrum Innovation Act preserves United States leadership in wireless technology and ensures Americans stay connected. Through this legislation, Congress is taking steps to protect national security, improve our public safety communications, and continue to push the Administration to manage our nation’s airwaves more effectively.   

“The Energy and Commerce Committee is leading on finding bipartisan solutions to ensure America leads a new era of innovation and entrepreneurship and today’s legislation is the result of that bipartisan work.” 

EXTENDING AUCTION AUTHORITY  

“The Spectrum Innovation Act extends the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to conduct spectrum auctions by 18 months. Without Congressional action, the FCC’s authority to issue spectrum licenses expires on September 30, and with the upcoming 2.5 gigahertz auction, Congress must act now to make sure that spectrum can be used to provide faster mobile connectivity across the United States. For the American people, it will mean faster internet, better connectivity, and stronger cell service.” 

SAFEGUARDING OUR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS 

“In order to fully utilize our communications networks, we must make sure they are secure. In 2020, Congress passed the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to ensure communications networks in the United States were secure. This provided funds to carriers that contained dangerous equipment in their networks, like Huawei and ZTE, so those carriers could maintain service while replacing that communications equipment with secure components.  

“Earlier this year, the FCC determined that they needed more money to secure our networks. This legislation addresses that shortfall.  

“If we fail to act, dangerous equipment from CCP connected companies could remain in our communications networks indefinitely. This is a serious national security threat that must be addressed as quickly as possible.”  

 SMART SPECTRUM ACT  

“The Spectrum Innovation Act also includes legislation sponsored by my colleague from Kentucky, Mr. Guthrie to establish an incumbent informing capability at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. His legislation, the SMART Spectrum Act, will provide NTIA another tool to better manage federal spectrum use and help us win the future by making more spectrum available for commercial use as the demand and uses for wireless technology grows.”  

NEXT-GENERATION 9-1-1   

“Finally, the Spectrum Innovation Act would facilitate a nationwide transition to Next-Generation 9-1-1. This legislation will help bring 9-1-1 fully into the 21st century by considerably improving the public’s ability to contact and share information with first responders during emergencies.  

“It will also enable our first responders to more safely respond to emergencies by providing them with additional information gathering tools to help strengthen their response when they arrive at the scene. I would like to thank Mr. Hudson and Ms. Eshoo for their years of hard work to put together comprehensive legislation to upgrade our nation’s aging 9-1-1 infrastructure.   

“This bill advances innovation, improves public safety, and strengthens America’s economic leadership. All while remaining budget neutral and costing the American taxpayers nothing by using the proceeds from future spectrum auctions to fund these important priorities.   

“I want to thank Chairman Pallone, Chairman Doyle, and Ranking Member Latta for working with me to come to a bipartisan agreement. This legislation is currently the only proposal moving through Congress to address these challenges, and there are imminent consequences to our national and economic security if Congress fails to act.” 

Excerpts and highlights from Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Latta’s floor remarks on H.R. 7624, the Spectrum Innovation Act: 

“I want to thank Chairman Doyle for working with me and my colleagues over the last several months to make improvements to the Spectrum Innovation Act and earn broad Republican support through the Committee process. The legislation passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 52 – 0, which is a testament to the bipartisan achievements that are included in the bill.” 

IMPROVING AMERICAN SPECTRUM LEADERSHIP AND INNOVATION 

“The Spectrum Innovation Act provides clarity and direction to NTIA to repurpose spectrum currently used by Federal agencies for commercial use. By providing this certainty, we will ensure that this auction receives the necessary oversight and certainty to result in a success for both federal agencies and the American taxpayer.  

“It also includes the Extending America’s Spectrum Auction Leadership Act of 2022, which will extend the Federal Communications Commission’s general auction authority for 18 months. Currently, this authority is set to expire on September 30. Without action, the FCC will not be able to make more airwaves available for 5G and wireless broadband services in rural areas.” 

PROTECTING AMERICANS AGAINST CHINA 

“With the proceeds of these auctions, Congress is funding critical public safety and national security priorities. The FCC is currently facing a $3.08 billion shortfall in funding to rip and replace untrusted equipment from our communications like Huawei and ZTE, which this bill would address. Recent news reports further underscore the need to remove this equipment quickly to protect Americans from Chinese espionage.” 

ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY 

“Additionally, the legislation would provide up to $10 billion dollars in future auction proceeds to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure. For nearly a decade, Congress has worked to identify a path forward on facilitating a coordinated, nationwide transition to next-generation 9-1-1. Today’s legislation brings that vision to life, and I thank my colleagues Mr. Hudson and Ms. Eshoo for their dedication to bring the public safety community, 9-1-1 professionals, and states together on this solution.  

“Finally, the Spectrum Innovation Act also includes the SMART Spectrum Act, legislation sponsored by my colleague from Kentucky, Mr. Guthrie, which will provide the National Telecommunications and Information Administration another tool to help NTIA better manage the use of spectrum by Federal agencies.  

“I am pleased that we are funding these important priorities without adding more to the national deficit.” 

Press Release