© Greg Nash
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is facing a long day on March 8, with back-to-back hearings in the House and Senate.
Commissioners will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee and then the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications that day.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will face panels chaired by lawmakers more amiable to his policies than they were to his Obama-appointed predecessor, Tom Wheeler.
In a statement Thursday announcing the hearing, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn ThuneSeven major players in Trump's trillion infrastructure push Trump’s great tech opportunity is in spectrum sharing Norquist warns GOP: Don’t link taxes, infrastructure MORE (R-S.D.) spoke positively of Pai’s potential.
“Under Chairman Pai’s leadership, the FCC has the opportunity to chart a path away from heavy-handed intervention in competitive markets and work collaboratively with Congress to create a modern regulatory agency that better meets the needs of consumers,” Thune said.
“The FCC has already taken steps towards increased transparency under Chairman Pai and I would like to see that continue.”
Communications subcommittee Chairwoman Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump transition members urge Rice to testify Tech faces public anger over internet privacy repeal Overnight Tech: GOP faces backlash over internet privacy repeal | AT&T lands .5B contract for first responder network | Tech knocks Trump climate order MORE (R-Tenn.) also spoke positively of Pai in a statement Friday.
“I’m looking forward to having new FCC Chairman Pai and commissioners O’Reilly and Clyburn testify before the subcommittee,” she said.
Blackburn has praised many of Pai’s early moves to cut back on net neutrality and process reforms.
In recent weeks, Pai dropped several net neutrality proposals, including a plan to open up cable set top boxes to content providers and measures to ban service providers from zero-rating or offering certain content to be accessible without incurring data charges.
Blackburn said she was looking forward to gaining insight on “final stages of the broadcast incentive auction, Pai’s agenda, and FCC reauthorization.”
Commissioners Mignon Clyburn (D) and Mike O’Rielly (R) will join Pai in the hearings.
During Congressional hearings, Wheeler was often at odds with Republican lawmakers who accused him of steering the FCC in a more partisan direction and derided many of his regulations.
The Senate committee hearing is set for 10 a.m. The House subcommittee hearing does not yet have a listed start time.