Reid Blocks Bid for Quick Senate Vote on Spectrum Bill

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By Kyle Daly

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blocked a Republican attempt at fast Senate passage of a spectrum bill Sept. 27, retaliating against Senate Republicans for not holding a floor vote on the nomination of Democratic Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a second term.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) sought unanimous consent to pass the legislation ( S. 2555), aimed at jump-starting investment in next-generation wireless networks, but Reid (D-Nev.) objected.

Reid said he will continue to block a vote on the bill unless Republican leaders honor a previous deal that, according to Reid, included a floor vote on Rosenworcel’s renomination.

“You can bring it out every other day; I’ll object to it — every other minute, every other hour,” he said of the spectrum bill. “It is wrong that the Republicans are treating the American people the way they are.”

The Senate Commerce Committee approved the bill in March (2016 TLN 20, 4/1/16). The measure would free up government-held spectrum for commercial use. It also includes provisions from both parties that would, among other things, require federally funded highway construction projects to simultaneously lay conduits for fiber optic cables and open more spectrum up for unlicensed wireless uses.

Rosenworcel's first term on the commission ended in June 2015 but she can remain on the commission through Dec. 31, pending Senate confirmation for another term. Senate Republicans have said they might bring her nomination to the floor if FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler commits to leaving the FCC at the end of President Barack Obama's term, but Wheeler has declined to do so (2016 TLN, 10/1/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyle Daly in Washington at kdaly@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

The text of S. 2555 as reported to the Senate is available at: http://src.bna.com/iWc.

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