JOINT SENATE COMMERCE AND WAXMAN LETTERS TO SUPER COMMITTEE CALL FOR D BLOCK ALLOCATION TO PUBLIC SAFETY
Richardson Amendment to DHS Authorization Bill Echoes Support for 700 MHz Spectrum
WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 14, 2011 – The Public Safety Alliance (PSA) today applauded Ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman, and Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison, as the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee, for their continued support in pushing for comprehensive spectrum legislation to be enacted in Congress this year for jobs, the economy, deficit reduction and public safety. Specifically, the PSA fully supports their inclusion of D block allocation to public safety and funding of the Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) within their formal letters of recommendations to the Co-Chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “Super Committee.”
In July, Waxman and his colleague Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology subcommittee, circulated comprehensive draft legislation on spectrum policy that closely mirrored S.911; Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation introduced by Chairman John “Jay” Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in the Senate. S.911 was overwhelmingly voted out of the Senate Commerce Committee in June by a 21-4 vote. Both the Waxman-Eshoo Discussion Draft and S.911 include D block allocation and funding of the PSBN. Indeed, thus far this year, at least ten different bills have been introduced that call for allocation of D block to public safety including House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson’s bill, H.R. 607; Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, and a close companion, S.1040, as introduced by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and former Senate Commerce Committee Chairman and 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ). While H.R.607 has garnered 47 bipartisan co-sponsors, the bill has languished in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Communications and Technology subcommittee without further consideration since its introduction in March 2011. Many had called on Congress to pass legislation allocating the D block to public safety before the 10 Year Remembrance that passed on September 11, 2011, and yet others including the bipartisan co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean (R-NJ) and Lee Hamilton (D-NY), as well as former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (R-PA), have called on Congress to pass this legislation immediately.
With the support of Chairman King and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) Ranking Democrat on the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications subcommittee, introduced an amendment yesterday to the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which also called for allocation of the D block to public safety. The PSA is very pleased that several committees have included this top priority in their recommendation letters to the Super Committee to spur the economy, create jobs, dramatically improve public safety communications, and help reduce the deficit, all at no additional costs to taxpayers.