The coming surge of broadband spending fueled by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is already creating headaches for the Commerce Department — particularly around the law’s Buy America provisions. The issue put National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson in a tough position at his first oversight hearing.
Change is coming to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress, a pattern of turnover that has become a staple of the powerful panel over the past 15 years. The list of those leaving is already significant. Five Democrats on the committee won’t be back for the 118th Congress. Among Republicans, Rep Billy Long (R-MO) is making his own Senate run. Other committee members are in real danger of losing their seats, including Reps David McKinley (R-WV) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), both of whom are locked in tough reelection fights after redistricting.
Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission nominees will remain stalled in the Senate for weeks, further jeopardizing progressives’ ambitious technology and telecommunications agendas. Floor votes to confirm FCC nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] and FTC nominee Alvaro Bedoya may not happen until at least March 2022 due to GOP opposition and the absence of Sen Ben Ray Luján (D-NM).
The tight-knit civil liberties advocacy community has helped shepherd through the most significant reforms to government surveillance over the past decade. But a growing number of experienced civil liberties and privacy activists have taken jobs at major tech companies in recent years, even as the data collection and practices of tech companies and the government come under increasing scrutiny.
With the closure of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)’s public feedback period on how best to allocate an upcoming $48 billion in broadband infrastructure grants, here are some key comments Politico noticed:
The United States is pressing the EU to revise rules targeting digital giants to make them focus less on American companies and ensure they will also cover tech firms from outside the US.