Senate Commerce Committee
Senators Launch Effort to Limit Kids’ Social Media Access at School, Promote Parental Limits on Screen Time
Sens Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ted Budd (R-NC) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced legislation to limit children's access to social media at school by requiring schools receiving federal broadband funding to prohibit access on subsidized services, devices, and networks.
On Sept 30, the US Senate unanimously voted to confirm Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr to serve another term as Commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, “Americans need a fully-equipped FCC that is ready to deliver on an agenda that puts consumers first.
In June, the Biden administration allocated $42.45 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding among states—the largest single pot of federal broadband spending in our country’s history. Biden officials at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) made these allocations despite repeated requests from lawmakers and communities across the country to first improve the data underlying NTIA’s funding decisions.
As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate passed bipartisan consumer protection legislation co-sponsored by Commerce Committee Chair Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) to require pre-purchase disclosures for smart devices and appliances that have built-in microphones or cameras capable of recording or transmitting data.
During an Executive Session, the Senate Committee on Commerce approved 11 bipartisan bills, including legislation aimed at protecting children’s online privacy: the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) and the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA). Other important bills approved included the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, the ORBITS Act, the TICKET Act, the COOL Online Act and several manufacturing bills. These bills now head to the Senate floor.
The US Senate Commerce Committee approved the following nominations for three Federal Communications Commission Commissioners, and the FCC Inspector General:
- Anna Gomez to be a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission;
- Geoffrey Starks to be a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission;
- Brendan Carr to be a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission; and
- Fara Damelin to be Inspector General of the Federal Communications Commission.
The [Federal Communications Commission] exercises tremendous power not only over the media, but also over consumers’ pocketbooks. Through the Universal Service Fund (USF) the agency has imposed burdensome taxes on American consumers to fund inefficient, ever-expanding programs. Nominees must be good stewards of funding and stand up for taxpayers’ interests. Despite being repeatedly excoriated by the [Government Accountability Office] and economists for failing to track where USF money was going, the current FCC leadership failed to learn from past mistakes in setting up the Affordable Conne