Senate Commerce Panel Approves 7 Tech Bills; Thune Eyes Open Internet

January 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm ET

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced seven bipartisan measures Tuesday, and in doing so revived some legislation approved by the panel during the 114th Congress that didn’t make it through both chambers.

After the markup, Committee Chairman John Thune told reporters he wants to move his tech agenda forward by reauthorizing the Federal Communications Commission and drafting “open internet” legislation to replace the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules.

“We’d love to see if we can do something with the open internet rules, and we’re going to try and restart those negotiations,” the South Dakota Republican said. The success of that effort, he said, will “depend largely on whether or not the Democrats have an interest in any kind of a negotiation there and we’ll test that out.”

On Monday, Thune told an audience at the State of the Net conference in Washington that passing the Mobile Now Act (S. 19) is one of his top priorities for the 115th Congress. The bill aims to free up federally owned bands of spectrum.

The committee on Tuesday approved the following bills by voice vote: the Digit Act (S. 88), the Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act (S. 96), Kari’s Law Act (S. 123) and the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act (S. 174).

The panel also unanimously approved the Mobile Now Act with a substitute amendment; the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act (S. 102) with a substitute amendment; and the Anti-Spoofing Act (S. 134) with an amendment that brings it in line with the House-passed version.

On Monday, the House also passed versions of Kari’s Law (H.R. 582), the Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act and the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act.

Several of the bills passed by the House yesterday and advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee today were revived from the 114th Congress after they failed to make it through the Senate.

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