FCC Chairman Pai Defends FCC Budget Cut

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission can do more with less—102 fewer full-time employees, for example—and his budget reflected that philosophy while still being able to serve the FCC's core mission of protecting the public interest and closing the digital divide. Chairman Pai, joined by Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O'Rielly, testified on the FCC's budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

The FCC has asked for about $322 million, 5.2% less than the previous year, even though the FCC's budget has been flat since 2009. Chairman Pai conceded it was a challenge to do more with less but that the FCC had rolled up its sleeves. And while he said past chairmen had pointed out that the FCC is fully funded by fees charged to licensees, he also remembered—and more than one legislator reminded him—that someone was paying that fee, including businesses big and small and the consumers to whom those fees were passed along. Chairman Pai said that even with fewer people, the FCC had more than doubled the number of items it was dealing with at its public meetings—saying the average was not 5.83 items vs. 2.58 under his predecessor. He cited a number of cost savings as well, from closing an off-site warehouse to cutting down on the number of printers and copying machines.

FCC Chairman Pai Defends FCC Budget Cut Before Congress, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Defends 5 Percent Budget Cut and Changes to Net Neutrality Rules (Broadband Breakfast)