House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking Democrat Henry
Waxman (D-Calif.) sent committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) a memo Tuesday
as the committee began its work in the new Congress suggesting that bills fare
better when they are bipartisan.
On the Communications Subcommittee, for example, the three
bills in the committee's jurisdiction that were either reported out of the
committee or that went directly to the floor without the support of the
Democratic majority did not pass. Those were the FCC Process Reform Act, a
resolution disapproving the FCC's net neutrality rules, and one that would have
defunded National Public Radio.
By contrast, of the four bills in their jurisdiction that
were supported by Dems -- the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of
2011 (which included incentive auctions), a resolution backing a
multistakeholder model of Internet governance, a bill to return unused
broadband stimulus funds to the Treasury and H.R. 3310, the FCC Consolidated
Reporting Act of 2011 -- two passed. Those were the tax relief bill and the
That is a 50% success rate, Waxman pointed out.
"The overriding lesson of last Congress is that the
Committee succeeded legislatively when its measures had broad bipartisan
support and failed when they did not," he said.