Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), along with Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced the Federal Communications Commission Collaboration Act today. The bipartisan legislation would modify the FCC's Closed Meeting Rule, which prohibits more than two Commissioners from talking outside of an official public meeting.
"The FCC has the responsibility to tackle the nation's most pressing communications issues, from spectrum reform to universal service and public safety. But the Closed Meeting Rule prevents simple collaboration or discussion of these issues, outside of a formal setting," Rep. Eshoo said. "I'm pleased to introduce legislation to modify this restrictive rule to promote greater discussion among the five FCC Commissioners so they can benefit from each other's expertise and experience."
"I have had many conversations with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle about this outdated rule and the need to pass reforms regarding the FCC. I believe the Commissioners would be able to better work together if they were also allowed to have ongoing discussions about the issues that are facing the Commission," Rep. Shimkus said. "Getting people together to talk always leads to better results."
Rep. Doyle said, "If Congress wants common-ground, consensus solutions from the FCC, then we need to set procedural rules that promote common-ground, consensus decisions at the FCC."
The FCC Collaboration Act would modify current FCC rules to allow three or more Commissioners to hold nonpublic collaborative discussions, as long as no agency action is taken. The legislation would also ensure that a member of each political party is represented in any such discussions.