• Oversight Role of House Energy and Commerce Committee To Grow
  • January 12, 2009 | Authors: Jennifer L. Richter; Jennifer A. Cetta; Carly T. Didden
  • Law Firm: Patton Boggs LLP - Washington Office
  • Under the leadership of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to increase emphasis on government accountability and pursue a transparency agenda, CongressDaily recently reported. The news organization noted that Waxman may continue the investigation into the FCC that the panel initiated in January under outgoing Chairman John Dingell, D-MI.

    Waxman's California connection also means strong ties to the high-tech sector. Some worry that since his district includes parts of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, he may favor movie studios and record labels that want Congress to pass stronger intellectual property protection laws.

    Waxman recently introduced legislation, the Universal Roaming Act of 2008, to require telecom recipients of rural universal-service funds to provide automatic roaming on just and reasonable terms to wireless carriers. He also was instrumental in the passage of legislation to permit all mobile phone operators the ability to provide service in the Washington, D.C., metro. GSM carriers had been locked out previously under a subway contract with Verizon Wireless that allowed CDMA roaming to Sprint Nextel customers.

    Waxman’s oversight committee also investigated the relationship between Cyren Call Communications Corp. and the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation in advance of the 700 MHz auction that failed to attract a bidder for the national D-Block public safety/commercial license. The committee did not issue findings, but an FCC probe cleared major stakeholders of any wrongdoing.