Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) is trying to drum up co-sponsors
for a "bipartisan" version of his incentive auction bill (S. 28),
which he is working on with ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.).
Rockefeller says the
bill is his highest priority for the committee. It would authorize broadcasters
to be paid to give up spectrum so that some of the proceeds could go to
building and maintaining an interoperable broadband emergency communications
network. The bill would allocate the 10 mHz of D Block spectrum to public
safety, rather than auctioning it, as currently law now requires.
Rockefeller wants to
mark up the bill, The Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, by
the end of the month and get it passed before the 9/11 anniversary. Not doing
so would put a spotlight on the lack of action on one of the
9/11 Commission's recommendations. "Senator Hutchison and I both
strongly believe that it is critical to provide this network to public safety
before the tenth anniversary of 9/11," he said in a dear colleague letter
a copy of which was obtained by B&C/Multi. "I invite you to join me in
cosponsoring this important legislation."