Mar 17 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) today introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen technical resources and expertise at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation would allow Commissioners to appoint a technical staff member and require the National Academy of Sciences to launch a study and examine the technical policy decision-making process and the availability of technical personnel at the FCC.
“At a time when citizens are demanding more effective and efficient government, this legislation will ensure the FCC is sufficiently equipped, both legally and technically, to craft sound policy,” said Senator Snowe, a senior member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that has jurisdiction over the FCC. “Additionally, streamlining FCC processes and rulemakings, as this legislation would do, will make sure the Commission keeps pace with the dynamics of the industry it oversees, which is critical to the competitiveness of U.S. companies in this global economy.”
“The FCC needs better tools and information to make timely decisions,” Senator Warner said. “This legislation will encourage the commissioners to access the best possible technical information from experts in this sector.”
The FCC Technical Expertise Capacity Heightening or “FCC TECH” Act would allow Commissioners to appoint a staff member—an electrical engineer or computer scientist—to provide in-depth technical consultation, and commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the technical policy decision-making process and the availability of technical personnel at FCC. The study would include an examination of the FCC’s technical policy decision-making, current technical personnel staffing levels, and agency recruiting and hiring processes of technical staff and engineers, and make specific recommendations to improve these areas.
The goals of the bill are to address glaring technical deficiencies at the FCC , which left unaddressed could continue to hamper American innovation and competitiveness, and remove regulatory bottlenecks through streamlining processes and removing bureaucracy in order to reduce government expenses and waste over the long term.