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Conference Report on H.R. 3630, Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALDEN. Madam Speaker, I thank Mr. Camp, and I want to thank the gentleman from Michigan for his extraordinary leadership in pulling the House and the Senate together as chairman of our conference.

One of the key elements of this legislation is freeing up an enormous swath of spectrum for use, to grow jobs in technology and innovation, generate $15 billion to the treasury to help pay for some of the things that are being discussed today, to extend the middle class tax cut, to provide unemployment for those who are seeking work. And in the process here, there are estimates of building out the 4G network, which will take spectrum like that which will be made available here, could generate somewhere between 300,000 and 700,000 American jobs, and unleash technology and innovation in America.

In addition to doing that, the Republican House, in concert with our colleagues across the aisle and across the Chambers, have come together to finally take care of our public safety officials who, on that terrible day of September 11, discovered that their devices did not communicate well with each other, if at all. So, finally, we have come together to create an interoperable, public safety broadband network that they can operate on wherever they are, wherever disaster may strike, and they'll be able to communicate with each other. We've allocated money to build it out. I think we've put a governance structure in place. While it is not exactly as I hoped would happen, I think it will function. We will see.

So we have built out a public safety network for our public safety officials. That will get underway. This bill will help generate 300,000 to 700,000 American jobs, generate $15 billion in private sector money coming into the government to help pay for some of this, and protect our over-the-air broadcasters. Our TV broadcasters who will be asked in a voluntary auction if they want to give up their spectrum are protected so that the viewers out there in America will still be able to see and watch their over-the-air public and private broadcasters.

Madam Speaker, this is good legislation, and I hope Members will support it.

Spectrum is increasingly becoming the lifeblood of our communications sector and our economy. U.S. investment in 4G wireless networks could range from $25 to $53 billion in the next five years, produce $73 to $151 billion in GDP growth, and create 371,000 to 771,000 new jobs, according to a recent study. But that can't happen without spectrum, and a spectrum crunch is looming. Back in December, the House of Representatives tackled the spectrum crunch head on when it passed the Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum Act of 2011, also known as the JOBS Act.

Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act follows the spectrum auction framework from the JOBS Act to free up valuable spectrum that when put into service will unleash new technologies. It will help meet the growing demand for mobile broadband, foster private-sector investment, and promote hundreds of thousands of jobs. To raise billions of dollars in federal revenue, it authorizes truly voluntary incentive auctions, ensures that any spectrum cleared with federal funds spectrum is auctioned, and enables all wireless carriers to compete in open auctions. The FCC should not be picking winners and losers. The market should.

Unleashing the pent-up demand of the commercial sector will drive innovation and help snap our country out of its fiscal doldrums. The innovation of the mobile sector has helped America lead the world in wireless and bring the power of the Internet to every corner of the country. No longer bound by wires to one location, wireless Internet access has spawned the creation of countless new technologies, a proliferation of wireless devices of all shapes and sizes, and even services so revolutionary they fostered actual revolutions. This legislation takes all of that innovation to a new level and creates real private-sector jobs.

The bill also provides the best protection of any competing legislation to make sure American viewers can continue to watch programming and news from the Nation's free, over-the-air broadcasters, who just went through an expensive and difficult federally mandated conversion to digital. And using the money from spectrum auctions, this legislation should generate upwards of $15 billion in net revenues while also helping build a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for our first responders.

It also includes a priority of my colleague, John Shimkus, who has been an ardent and articulate supporter of next-generation 911 services. Thanks to his tireless advocacy, we were able to secure $115 million for NG911 deployment modeled on the Shimkus-Eshoo NG911 Act, and we did so in a fiscally responsible manner, making sure we hit our revenue targets first before spending the money.

This legislation didn't just drop out of the sky. It is thoughtful and carefully crafted legislation that finds the right balances. Its provisions were improved as a result of the input and counsel from five hearings and 11 months of discussions with members of both sides of the aisle, the FCC and TIA. Throughout this process my staff and I have worked in good faith with broadband providers, broadcasters, and public safety officials.

Our economy needs the help, Americans need new jobs, and we need to generate federal revenue for the American taxpayer. This legislation does all of these things--and it does them well.


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