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By Kyle Daly
The House Appropriations Committee June 28 released a draft measure that would cut the Federal Communications Commission’s budget to the level sought by the White House.
The committee proposed in its draft fiscal 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to make $322 million available to the FCC for fiscal 2018. That’s the funding level President Donald Trump requested in May, down 5.2 percent from fiscal 2017. Under the stripped-down budget, the FCC envisions cutting over 100 agency jobs.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a June 20 Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that the cuts will drive greater efficiency and reduce regulatory costs for the industries the agency oversees. The FCC raises the money for its congressionally set budget by collecting fees. Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in the hearing that the staffing and resource cuts could compromise the FCC’s “core mission of protecting consumers, advancing competition, and ensuring the reliability and resiliency of public safety communications.”
In recent years, Republican lawmakers sought to use appropriations legislation to block the then Democrat-controlled FCC from doing things like regulating broadband rates and implementing net neutrality rules. The committee’s draft measure proposed no such policy directives for the agency, now chaired by Pai, a Republican.
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The draft appropriations legislation is available at: http://src.bna.com/qj1
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