Thursday, November 11, 2010

USA - New Congress is unlikely to make progress on telecoms legislation

[the hill] Analysts said Wednesday that Republican gains make it unlikely technology and telecommunications bills will move before the next Congress.

Even on issues that have bipartisan support, it is unlikely significant legislation will pass before the end of the year.

House Republicans will likely prefer to wait until they are in power to address telecommunications issues including privacy, an overhaul to the multi-billion dollar Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes phone service, and spectrum auctions.

Meanwhile, Democrats have bigger fish to fry before ending their majority tenure in the House.

"Tech and telecom is less of a priority when you weigh it against jobs," said Amy Mushahwar, a data privacy and security attorney at the law firm Reed Smith.

Still, the non-partisan nature of some telecom issues could mean they will not be as hampered by partisan grid lock as other legislation when Republicans assume control of the House, she said.

"The issues that are seen as less political may be those that get done because there are fewer compromises needed, if supporters can spin them in a non-partisan way," she said.

Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, made the same point in an editorial Wednesday in which he argued high-tech issues offer a chance for the parties to work together.

"High-tech, the foundational element of all industries, offers a bipartisan and fail-proof blueprint that voters will universally accept in 2012," he said.

Boding well for telecommunications bills in the next session is that spectrum and Universal Service reform already have bipartisan support

Analysts: Don't expect tech and telecom bills to move in the lame-duck

No comments: