WASHINGTON, January 24, 2011 – The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), released his legislative agenda for the upcoming year on Friday. The senator plans to prioritize three broad areas: economic security and growth, proactive homeland security and consumer protection.
“In the new Congress,” said Rockefeller “I will continue my fight to bring modern day protections for consumers and accountability to fraudsters, promote high-tech job creation and competitiveness, and keep Americans safe, secure, and on the move.”
The Senator wants to expand and improve broadband deployment by looking to the the Universal Service Fund. In 2009, Rockefeller, along with ranking member, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), sponsored bill which would extend USF funding to low-income Americans. Currently, the program directly subsidizes broadband internet only to schools, libraries and health care institutions.
Rockefeller aims to strengthen homeland security by supporting “comprehensive” cyber security legislation and improving the public safety communication network. Those goals also parallel several of the Federal Communications Commission’s objectives. In its January Open Meeting, the Commission is scheduled to address strengthening public safety by proposing the creation of a nationally inter-operable public safety radio network.
With the use of social networks and online shopping increasing, Rockefeller wants to ensure consumers are receiving the proper protections they need. In the new Congress he wants to enhance the current level of protection and investigate important online frauds such as billing scams.
The committee has oversight of the FCC, which it shares with Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee. Republicans on the House committee aim to repeal the Open Internet Order, which the Commission issued last month. Rockefeller has been a strong supporter of Network Neutrality and supports the Order.