FCC reform bill passes House, includes FOIA reform

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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A bill to reform the FCC, which would increase transparency and accountability regarding the agency’s merger process and it’s handling of FOIA requests, passed the House by a 247-174 vote Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden, was first introduced in the House in 2011. The vote took place largely along partisan lines, and Senate Democrats are expected to block the bill. The White House issued a veto threat Monday.

Democrats have largely been in favor of the FCC’s processes, maintaining the view that the FCC’s congressional mandate allows for the agency to conduct its affairs as a protector of the public interest.

An amendment to the bill by Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart would also require the FCC to reform how it handles Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

“My amendment was in response to overwhelming data demonstrating the FCC’s apparent lack of transparency and openness with the American people. In FY 2011, the FCC denied more than 46% of the FOIA requests it processed, compared to about 7% across the entire federal government,” said Diaz-Balart in a prepared statement.

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