tv FCC Commissioners Testify on FY 2018 Budget CSPAN June 22, 2017 7:28am-8:55am EDT
>> i think we will go out and start. by ranking member senator could still be here shortly. i will go and make my opening statement and begin testimony. thank you all for being here this afternoon. i appreciate it. i'd like to thank you for your comments last week about what we need to strike. today marks the first hearing in the financial services and general government to committee for the 115 congress. this is also my first hearing in a new role as chairwoman of the subcommittee. as they began the budget request, welcome our witnesses. fcc chairman and commissioner clyburn and michael are rightly.
we look forward to hearing from you all about the budget request and the work you are doing to carry out the agency's mission. fiscal year 28 team, requesting a total of 322 million. while funding is offset by fees that do not minimize or need to ensure that the agency is operating effectively in the funds are being sent responsibly. this is especially important since these are passed on directly to the american consumer. the sec partisan actions have an enormous impact on our country's economic growth and potential critical in rural america. communities in a state of west virginia have been hard-hit by job loss and decline creating a major drag on the state's economy and our quality of life in two of our commissioners here have been in west virginia firsthand. one of my top priorities is to promote policies that spur new investment and boost economic growth. broadband access can provide opportunities that lead to new jobs, higher wages, provide
momentum that her state economy needs. .. to connect our state. broadband should be easily available and affordable. it's that simple and at the federal level we've been all trying to make this a reality. the benefits of broadband access are numerous but too many parts of rural america cannot attract investment they need to get online.
communities like tucker county or the whitewater resorts in fayette county need robust broadband to fully capture the potential of a tourism economy. these communities can capitalize on their natural beauty, attract a technology-based workforce that simply needs a computer and strong, stable connectivity to reach clients around the globe. in order to help these communities we must equip them with the right tools to succeed. that's why i introduced legislation to accelerate the development of high-speed internet in low income communities. the gigabit opportunity or go act encourages new investment to connect these rural and urban communities. by empowering governors and states direct investments to areas with the greatest need this proposal ensures communities with the highest potential are prioritized for funding.
for providers the proposal eliminates barriers to new investment in broadband infrastructure and incentivizes competition. under the go act the fcc is directed release a framework to streamline broadband laws throughout the state. we talked about this with the commissioners. this will eliminate the marriage of duplicative and inconsistent laws that exist in all states. once adopted the governors would be able to nominate a portion of their states i and low income areas as gigabit opportunity zones. businesses that invest or make upgrades to speed up the networks would benefit from targeted tax and other incentives. internet access should be broadly available regardless of whether you live in a small town or big city and hi is connectivy is essential to growing our nation's economy and in particular west virginia's economy. with all the focus on rural america, now is time to level the playing field and close that digital divide. i will let mr. kunz, senator coons, have his opening statement.
some going to turn to our witnesses and chairman pai, i will ask you now to begin with your testimony. >> chairman capito, thank you for holding this evening. i want to recommend ranking member coons and all the members of the subcommittee for inviting us here today. tubes into the sec's fiscal year 2010 budget request. i also want to kno note the participation of my two colleagues, commissioner mignon clyburn and michael o'reilly. it's a privilege to serve with them as we strive to meet the public interest. for fiscal year 2018 we developed a carefully crafted discipline budget request of approximately $322 million. that is 5.2% below the prior fiscal years undirected spending level of approximately $339 million. we also won't need any directed move or re-stackin restocking fh amounted to $44,000,000.16.9 million in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 respectfully.
in addition we propose to reduce our spectrum auction cap from $170 million to approximately $111 million. this would enable us to transfer $6 million more to the treasury. we can all agree that budget reductions don't come easily. we will face the same challenges as other agencies in doing more with less. people making budget cuts while maintaining essential services inch rolling up our sleeves and rethinking how the commission functions and does business. in the past se fcc chairman has emphasized that we're in an entirely fee funded agency. it's important to remember as you pointed out someone is paying our freight. that summer include small businesses, individual licensees, as well as larger companies which pass along those to american consumers. it is imperative for the fcc to be fiscally responsible and to avoid unnecessary spending. i firmly believe it we refrain from regulatory overreach we will realize additional cost
savings as well as more economic growth. results that benefit everyone. while we've experienced staffing reductions over the past several years, administrative efficiencies and better ip have entered the fcc remains productive. for example, this year with 100 fewer staff than last year we've already managed to pursue an aggressive schedule for our open meetings. commissioners consider the highest profile matters. in 2017 where averaging more than double the number of items per meeting then we considered last year. 5.83 versus 2.58. i expect .58. i expect this productivity to continue into 2018. since i became chairman in january we've been aggressive in looking for cost savings, and her staff has identified some substantial reductions. by closing our off-site warehouse and improving our internal mail services for a projected annual savings of $851,000. we will save another $280,000 by reducing the number of on-site
printers and copy machines. as we move into fiscal year 2018 we will focus the fcc's resources on advancing the four strategic goals that were outlined in our budget request. first and foremost, consistent with your comments we will concentrate on closing the digital divide. we will implement the connect america fund phase two and mobility fund phase to reverse auctions to bring fixed broadband and 4g lte to more of rural america. these are complicated task to be sure but our auctions task force has a solid plan for getting the job done. if i may say on a personal note i appreciate your initiative in introducing the go act, a substantial effort i think in connecting unserved americas with digital opportunity. i thank you for your leadership in that regard. second, we will work to promote innovation from implementing policies to ensure american leadership in 5g wireless networks to authorize and television broadcasters to use the next-generation television
standard. we will move full speed ahead on implement think the spectrum pipeline act to get more airwaves into the commercial workplace for consumer use. third we will concentrate on protecting consumers and public safety. from combating illegal robocalls to improving video relay service for deaf and hard of hearing americans will continue to pursue an aggressive proconsumer agenda. when it comes to public safety we will continue to support those on the front lines across the country who protect all of us each and every day. fourth and finally we will focus on reforming the fcc's processes. the american people deserve to have a transparent and responsive regulator. we have made substantial progress on this front like making public commission meeting at least three weeks before we vote on them but there's much more to do. and do it we will. looking ahead to next fiscal year i'm excited about how the fcc can bring digital opportunity to more americans, promote technological innovation, protect the american
people and improve our agencies operations. i believe this budget request will help us to advance these goals in a fiscally responsible way. thank you once again for this opportunity to discuss the fcc budget proposal. i'll be pleased to answer any questions you are the members might have, look for to working with you in the future on this critical matters. >> now i would like to turn to commission clyburn and ask for her to present her testimony. thank you. [inaudible] >> let's try that again. chairman capito, ranking member coons and members of the subcommittee, good afternoon. it is my distinct pleasure to appear before you to offer my perspective on the sec's fiscal year 2018 budget request. yesterday marked the fcc's 83rd anniversary, and while much has changed since 1934, our responsibility when it comes to protecting consumers, advancing competition and ensuring the reliability and resiliency of public safety communications
remains unchanged. to achieve these goals the fcc needs a fully staffed workforce. however, the agency finds itself with the fewest number of ftes in more than 30 years. in some cases this has created much needed efficiencies, in others it has required employees to double up on responsibilities with little or no pay increase. this not only put at risk the quality of the final work product, it also has a direct impact on worklife balance. to put this assertion into perspective, each year the federal employee viewpoint survey asked fcc employees whether they agree or disagree that have sufficient resources to get the job done. in 2011 just over 30% of fcc employees disagreed with this statement.
by 2016 that figure had risen to nearly 38%. so additional budget and staffing cuts will likely lead to this number increasing even further in the coming years. furthermore, while not unique to the fcc, an increasing number of federal employees are eligible for retirement. today there are 362 fcc employees that are retirement eligible, equaling roughly 23% of our workforce. in practice, 124, 124 employees have already departed the agency this year, and this figure is only expected to increase. some will retire while others will leave for new job opportunities. the while we have no choice but to think about a future which recruits and retains the nation's next generation best and brightest, we must do so, and do so we will. you may have also heard me speak about the need for better broadband data, and part because
have heard from far too many communities that take issue with the fcc's figures. they said that where our data shows there's either fixed or mobile broadband coverage, that in actuality the service ranges from spotty to nonexistent. it should not be this difficult for the expert agency to have accurate data down to the street level, for we know that improved data enables us to better target our infrastructure efforts and improve the accuracy of our national broadband map. and i'm a strong believer in the power of broadband to tackle some of our nation's greatest challenges, particularly when it comes to healthcare. thanks to the work of the fcc's connect health task force we have a clear picture of where the greatest needs exist. chairman pai is committed to carrying on the work of the task force, and i'm hopeful that three sustained investment in this initiative it will continue to fuel and inform us when it
comes to broadband health policy and investment for and in rural and underserved communities. as the subcommittee prepares its appropriations bill for fiscal year 18, i am also hopeful that i.t. infrastructure will be top of mind. moderate i.t. infrastructure should be able to handle a few hundred thousand public comments without grinding to a halt. and to demonstrate the agencies commitment to i.t. modernization and cybersecurity, future budget because should include a dedicated subaccount supporting these critical needs. finally, i would like to talk about this agency spectrum auctions program. despite several auctions currently in development and more in the pipeline, the commissions budget request would cut 5.8 million from the program. our auctions produce a tremendous return on investment and are a win-win for consumers,
industry and the federal government. with 5g on the horizon we need to look long-term and focus on how we will provide the funding necessary to administer timely and efficiently run auctions. a sustained investment in our auctions program will unlock the next generation of wireless broadband and ensure that america remains a leader in wireless innovation. returning to the commission central mission, it is a point of great disappointment to me that this fcc is on the track to dismantle many of the key rules involving consumer protections and competition. is this the prelude to the commission that ultimately allows large companies to exist in a regulatory freezone? i ask this because of the american people count on the fcc to be the referee on the field, ensuring that our nation's communication providers play by the rules and consumers have a chance to be on the winning
team. but only if this agency calls the right place to be able to say that it is truly putting consumers first. i'd like to thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to testify today. i look for to answering any questions you may have of me. >> thanthank you, commission cliburn. now i'd like to turn over to commissioner o'rielly. thank you. >> chairman capito, ranking member coons and members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i commend fcc chairman pai for preparing the budget request present before the subcommittee. in particular i appreciate the chairman effort to trim the budget in terms of overall funding and personal compared to the fy '17 budget submission of final appropriations level. while these are difficult decisions to make, changes as is outlined in the submission can be made without undermining the ability of the commission to execute its mission. if i could suggest one area where additional resources may be justified it would be support for for the work on the commissions universal service fund within the wireline bureau.
on another note what appears to be a decision to relocate the commission headquarters is final, i think it's necessary to comment that the move a lot of negative impact on the agency. i know of several season agency professionals will choose to leave rather than transfer to the new location. in terms of the commissions structure would argue we maintain outdated bureaus and divisions based on icon eras pics of the put, the commission make it right or toy sizes a sound transmission mechanisms that predate the invention of the internet and the radical conversions have occurred since then. i would humbly suggest this subcommittee consider requesting the commission to prepare transformative plans for the agency structure. while this hearing is focus on the commissions fy 2018 budget, it seems appropriate to raise a couple policy issues before the commission for purposes of updating the subcommittee. as mention it is a top commission prior to make broadband available to it as many americans as possible. in addition to the two items
discussed in a budget commission completed reform of our rate of return regulations last year. this bipartisan effort supported then and still not by the industry will allocate just over 2 billion over the next ten years for rate of return carriers so they can expand the networks economically serve, bring service to consumers. i would be remiss if i didn't mention my perpetual project to finally act on the remote areas fund. second, part and parcel reforming our subsidy mechanism the commissioners are doing, preferring to remove the major base to broadband deployment and posed by state, and tribal governments. activities that delay including excess of these unofficial and, in fact, society moratoria are being replicated throughout our nation and cannot be allowed to continue if were to ever make broadband availability as ubiquitous as possible. third, despite best efforts over the last year trying to coax and conjugal states not to divert
necessary fees collected for 911 purposes, the commission identified in 2168 states and u.s. territory continue to practice. while i have outlined a few possible ways for the commission to push states to stop this behavior, this committee they can stability condition billions of dollars in grants and funding provided to states which could serve as a great course director on the subject. lastly, for many reasons the commission has allowed individuals to illegally set up shop in the middle of radio band causing lasting harm to existing legitimate broadcasters and the american public. thank play the commission is referring to take a different track towards these illegal operators. your endorsement would be welcome as we set to end this practice. thank you for the opportunity before you today and i look for to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you, commissioner o'rielly. want to turn to senator coons for opening statement. so welcome. it's our first meeting together. >> thank you for being gracious
about allowing me to make an opening later in the ring, and i want to thank the entire commission for being present today. visit our first hearing. your role as chairwoman sf unit i look for to working with you in a number of the challenging issues we have in front of us and i welcome chairman pai, certainly well known to all of us, commission cliburn and commissioner o'rielly. i welcome the opportunity together to examine sec's budget request and discussion crucial role in ensuring that national communications remains reliable, effective, efficient and continuously innovative. the proposal is 5% below the current operating level 340 million. unlike most agencies the sec funding has been frozen since 2009 forcing it to find savings in a variety of ways in order to meet necessary increases inflation and staff raises. these have been found to be productive means, a limited waste and duplication but i'm concerned are no more easy efficiencies to be found and it
made up affecting the very heart of the sec commission to lose another one letter to ftes. to achieve the proposed reductions the staff gets will result in the lowest staffing levels on record for the agency. i look forward to hearing from the witnesses about how this indiscriminate means of achieving this reduction will be accomplished without impacting the core mission of the agency. i think there's positive news in that we share an enthusiasm for improving broadband access under ten billions are universal service fund administered by the sec, expand access to key medications necessary in our modern age. i was pleased to have from chairman pai about progress on mobility to funding the connect america fun which will provide a significant funding for lte and broadband service other 40 working with chairman capito about that as well have expressed in the course of my question concerns about reversal policy direction of a net neutrality and consumer privacy protections for internet data,
things were think it's important that we work together to reassure the public and find common ground. chairman pai zone that the fcc a few months, you've made significant progress on a few fronts nextgen tv and incentive auctions to spur innovation. it's my hope we can also work together to find ways to protect consumers into a trust a fundamental issue of the net neutrality that are concerned to a lot of my constituents as well as to our country as evil. thank you for sharing your perspective is about the fcc's funding requirements and program goals, and thank you for your leadership. >> thank you. i noticed the ranking member of the full committee has entered the room and i wanted to extend an opportunity if you'd like to say a few words. >> thank you, madam chairwoman, and my friend from west virginia. and, of course,-from delaware, senator coons. i did want to raise a question on net neutrality.
i looked at the trump budget proposal cuts funding for the sec's core budget by 5%. this may pale in comparison with the drastic cuts propose for other agencies. but it is significant for an agency whose budget basically flat funded for years. perhaps it's a reflection of an agency the administration walking away from some of its core responsibilities. and no area do we see that more than net neutrality and broadband privacy protections. this is something i hear every single time i go home, i hear at the airport, going to the grocery store, coming out of church on sunday. i hear it everywhere. in fact, nearly 4 million americans, 4 million, an
unprecedented number, calling on the fcc to preserve the internet as a free and open platform for all. i had a hearing in vermont, small businesses and large businesses, they all said the same thing, they want strong meaningful roles to protect consumers and small businesses and startups. they want rules to protect the internet as an open forum for commerce, ideas and expressions. i have a judiciary hearing in burlington vermont. small businesses told me about why these rules are so important. they don't want a special treatment. they simply want assurance the internet remains an equal playing field so they can use internet to expand their businesses beyond the vermont border without fear of prohibited fears, of being squeezed out, with special internet and pass haven. one very large company started as a small company said they don't want special preference. they don't want to be in a
position where small companies can get squeezed out by big companies that can't afford it. they being one. they said that though i shall never see a small company start up again like him. the fcc's landmark open internet rules reflect the concerns of the small businesses, and the millions of americans. the rules ban pay to play deal could derail startups and small businesses, stifling innovation. the rules in fcc's landmark open internet rules ensure the internet remains open and dynamic platform for innovation and free speech. but chairman pai immediately after president trump appointed you, the fcc suddenly did an about-face. i mean, almost you could hear the tires squeal as it spun around. chairman pai, your actions appears to further only one
cause, to ensure a large corporations are able to maximize profits at the expense of hard-working americans and small businesses. so the small business, many of us have in our states. and i'm troubled, i am very troubled, chairman pai, it under your leadership the fcc has turned from an agency whose primary objective was to ensure competition in the marketplace to one that said, that's been co-opted by money, interest and big businesses that can squeeze out competition. so i hope you will reconsider your ill-advised decision to undermine the open internet rules, undermining net neutrality protections harms consumers. now i'll close with this. in the past few months we've seen an effort to undermine important consumer protections not only from within the fcc, but also from congress. and i remain disappointed but sadly not surprised that many in
the republican leadership and president trump have teamed up to side with corporate interest over consumers when they rolled back common sense protections. i would urge my colleagues in both sides of the aisle, you have a lot of small businesses and a lot of startups. they are going to be just killed by this if corporate interests are placed above the interest of consumers, hard-working americans. it's unacceptable. america deserves better. madam chair, i will place my full statement in the record. >> thank you, senator. at this time will proceed with her questioning which each senator will do five minutes per round and i will begin to questioning. my first question, chairman pai, is something that was alluded to in your statement but also in commissioner o'rielly statement
about helping states figure out the best way to deploy broadband, eliminate some of the barriers. and i know that this is something of it working on. could you me a quick status on where you are on that? i would like to see my state of west virginia just did pass a semi-controversial broadband expansion bill which am very proud the governor signed. [inaudible] >> we are taking aggressive steps to work cooperatively with states to make sure that we put a broadband deployment front and center at all levels of government. for instance, soon after i was chairman i set the broadband deployment advisory committee. to one a critical working group of which is devoted specifically to states helping to try to find a model code so states that are interested in deployment can take an approved off-the-shelf set of guidelines to help promote deployment. similarly at some of stewardship are universal service fund programs we were cooperative with states to make sure every dolladoubt that spin is been wiy on unserved areas and i met with
a number state official -- >> is a one state that is doing it really will? >> that are a number of them. for example, with the tennessee have had a chance to learn about having migrated next-generation 911 which is an ip-based system. they've been forward-looking. i've worked well with governor cuomo in new york state to deliver connect america fun subsidies to upstate to serve unserved americans. every state i think shares that interest. they might have different challenges and different ways of getting there. >> turning to the budget quickly or comments both commissioner clyburn and commissioner o'rielly made. sort of coming up from different angles i wanted to give your chance to respond or anybody really but first your thoughts since you didn't address it into opening statements on possible agency structure, losing ftes, 5% shrinkage in the budget. how do you see that in terms of your ability to get your job done? >> a few different points. first, the office of management and budget offered governmentwide guidance with respect to the 5% figure we
crafted our budget consistent with that kind. secondly we want to make sure we had her eyes on the prize to make sure the fcc discharges its core responsibilities even if the staffing level might be lower. that's why despite the fact we are fewer staffers we been able to focus on doubling the input, output rather with respect to our meeting items will be considered the highest profile issues. in the first month we got across the finish line in a bipartisan way. reform america program to make sure that fixed broadband the 4g lte reaches unserved americans. we've also consider structural changes to make sure we use the assets we've got in the most effective way. for instant in the first speech i gave on this topic i propose the creation of an office of economics and data to one of the things i found the fcc unlike at the ftc or the sec, economists are sprinkled up the bureaus and offices. some are very busy and some are not as busy. i thought it double '07 office of general counsel, if the
engineers haven't office of injury technology, what if we centralized economic function so we consulted all the economist, the great talent in one office. it would allow us to do, alas to attract economist to the agency and give them an academic and private if you want to consider bigger picture things to write white papers and generate some most innovative ideas the fcc is such as price cap relation and incentive auction. we are doing the best we can to make those responsibilities within the constraints that have been presented to us. >> thank you. commissioner clyburn, we've talked about this. in terms of coordination between the fcc, the ntia and our u.s., resources for broadband department, we have some issues in our state with the initial stimulus package and the deployment of those funds as well. what are you seeing in terms of ordination with the fcc is is an area of strength or things that need to be worked out?
>> i think, well, to be honest with you we have a federal-state joint board initiative a framework where we are constantly in contact with our state counterparts about how we can do and how we could build better relationships. the chairman was right to point out that his the gap that was started, gives with blueprint or a means for people to weigh in. i will also say however, there's only one local representative on title as a standup of what it that will continue to do is work with local authorities, work with companies, work with us and come up with maybe an infrastructure consortium that will better any more streamlined and targeted way will he get everybody's voices at the table, come with a collaborative framework and really do what you and i want, that's connect america.
i think they're better ways we can do it but only three concerted effort and by concentrating on what our goals and objectives are and listening to states and local voices. >> senator coons. >> thank you, chairman, capito. chairman pai, if i might just an opening concern. there is widespread concern now that the administration has been choosing to respond to requests for information from democrats which counters a long-standing tradition upheld by both parties as to how the agencies ought to respond to question. when you commit to responding to all questions whether the majority or the minority that come due from members of congress? >> thank you for the questionnaire absolute. i have have density might change as chairman and will do so going forward. >> as we discussed yesterday consumer privacy is a topic of real concern to me on april 3 president trump signed into law a new enactment the notified the fcc previous roles that provided some movement on protection for
consumer internet privacy. as we discussed you believe it's the core challenge but strong outside their jurisdiction so the fcc can't currently provide that protection. what privacy protections are currently in place and he was enforcing? do you think there should be privacy protection for consumer privacy? how do we achieve a restoration of order and move towards a place where there are robust privacy protection for consumers? >> thank you for the question. i appreciate your concern as well as the cars you extended to me yesterday. i think the baseline expectation of every consumer and i think every regulator and elected official i daresay should be uniform expectation that sensitive information with the predicted whenever a consumer goes online. prior to 2015 the federal trade commission was a cop on the beat. they applied consistent privacy framework across the internet economy. after 2015 when the fcc deemed
telecommunication carriers to be common carriers restrict the fcc of jurisdiction. that left a hole in terms of privacy protections. thus far don't think that applies to section 222 of the communications act, section c one of which applies to requirements of telogen indications carriers because the rules of privacy never got into effect. so essentia essentially in 2015o figure how to go forward. reestablish some guidance based on our enforcement bureau which provides guidance to the industry everything going forward what we want to make sure it is we protect consumers as best we can and work with the federal trade commission to make sure regardless of what agency is handling the issue we need to make sure the consumer is protected consistently. >> do you think it is cornell who is responsible and u.s. jurisdiction or do you think there's official action that needs to be taken in order to provide robust protection for consumer privacy? >> curled the fcc does have jurisdiction over internet service providers. the ftc has jurisdiction over everyone else a center in the internet economy.
that's what i'm committed to working closely with the chairwoman and that the members of the ftc to make sure we have a consistent framework that protects consumers whenever they go online. >> the other day we discussed that i consider that is not neutrality. when the fcc first proposed a rule net neutrality three years ago, record-breaking number of americans filed comments. it crashed the fcc system. it crashed my phone system in my office as well. then when it was announced as a counter i do make and that happened again. that just indicates there's a lot of americans who a strong views about trying to keep the internet open. how would you consider the public comments you receive and how will the commission way the voices of millions of americans who have got serious concerns that internet freedom? >> an important question and that's part of the reason why we're having the public conversation. the fcc could've chosen to proceed to what's known as declared terror ruling saying with a previous fcc did is no and void and move it but it was important to us to make sure we
had notice and comment for the process that is prescribed by the administered procedure agreed that one had a full 90 days the public, in addition to the three weeks for the fcc vote to allow for that robust public comment. once the public comment period closes in the middle of august, august 16 i believe, we will take stock and fcc's terrific staff and try to figure out whether the fcc should move ahead and if so how. we will be guided by the principles of substantial evidence as enunciated by the d.c. circuit, either fax that are in the record and, of course, by the motivation to figure out what's in the public interest at the end of the day. >> i'd be interested commissioner clyburn and your comment on either of those two issues, ned kelly, consumer privacy and then one less a shelf wanted to briefly raise. >> i find myself wondering who is the referee on the field and the cop on the beat when it comes to broadband internet access service as it stands now. with the passage of the cra and
with the direction that we've taken, i honestly, i'm not an attorney what it don't think anybody is directing, is monitoring the balls and strikes. from that perspective i'm worried, i'm worried as a broadband, as a customer, and i'm worried for the millions of others who are. i forgot the other question, senator. >> consumer privacy and net neutrality. how can you provide reassurance to the public that their concerns are called to be taken seriously by the commission? >> i am hopeful that the 4+ million comments weaver will be taken seriously by this body. regardless of what form they came in, people took the time to weigh in. their voices should be heard. we are a government agency. where responsible for doing the will of the people. >> i'll close by just complementing the proposed rule to reduce robocalls. [laughing] as someone who is myself the victim apparently we quit spoofing robocalls where i into
because it looks like it's a number i know but it's not. i look forward to your work on that as a predatory practice and i'm glad you're working to stop it. it's my hope that together we will address the unresolved concerns of consumer privacy protection. thank you, madam chair. >> senator lankford. >> thank you. chairman pai, appreciate all of you being here as well it today. tell me a little bit about the lifeline and process you going to right now. i know there's review on lifeline. we have -- the spin expansion of that over the past several years. still a concern about fraud. and want to be able to make sure that taxpayer dollars are used correctly and wisely. where are you on that right now? >> thanks for the question i've been consistent in saying our top priority at the fcc is closing the digital divide and i think the lifeline program is an important part of the equation in terms of closing that divide. one of the things we've looked at is the way to make sure that every single dollar which is after all i taxpayer dollars are
spent in the lifeline program goes to somebody that needs the help. we want to make sure the lifeline program is directed towards needy consumers to make sure that any of the fraud in the system is investigating and rooted out. we are in the process of determining the next steps but you can rest assured that in terms of purpose -- >> give me a timeline on that. obvious if i go back a year in the same hearing or a year before that they seem to be similar better that effort for a while on it. while there have been some advances of the passover years, what is the next step or when is the next step on fraud in the lifeline? >> we have made it a priority. i've spoken with members of the staff as well as folks at the universal service administrative company which oversees this program among others on our behalf. i can give a specific date on what i can fight is over the next several months we hope to be able to report to you improvements. >> let's say by october, november, december. >> i can commit to that, yes. >> terrific. tell me a definition as you walk
into issues between underserved and unserved. this seems to be the great debate on just about every program on everything we are engaging in with any kind of subsidy. which has priority, underserved or unserved? >> they are both important to me at least. it is critical to folks or unserved onto the other part of the ledger. it's increased important for folks of internet access what you want to start a job, educate your kids, get health care, participate in civic society and other functions. to me at least it is important to bring some of those 30 some million americans are off the grid when it comes to digital infrastructure on. if you look at it in service, that's all you can focus on. >> a priority issue the more towards that or is already there when it is the unserved rather than underserved? >> i think it is larger there. if you look at the nuke broadband initiative we got across the finish line my first week as chairman. if you look at the mobility
fund, some of the other programs, initiatives we've done, we are trying to attack the digital divide. last request coming to the upper midwest. >> there's been conversation about all these areas on digital divide a given issue of means testing. there's been some questions about that to be up to put out just a generic question, what should we do one means testing just because they don't have access doesn't mean they don't have the finances to ask his prodigious chosen not to. where is that right now? >> that's one of the things were studied. i'm working with commissioner o'rielly as well as members of the staff to be cut away for .net initiative. it's important idea we are considered. >> answer this question. i've already heard come up so far in this conversation today. the sec's leaning more towards the big corporate interests rather than the interest of the consumer. why would that accusation sit out there and how would you answer that? >> i respectfully disagree with
that assessment. i think you can look at our track record we have inconsistently making sure with a more competitive marketplace. if you look at some of our initiative with respect to reform the standalone broadband program to making sure wireless internet service providers have the ability to deploy, if you look at our broadband deployment advisory committee, my support of the gigabit opportunity act, each one is targeting and incentivize some of the smaller providers to enter into the marketplace, investment risk capital. that is something that is often difficult to convey. last week when i was visiting a fixed wireless provider in wisconsin what it thinks i learned is how difficult it is for them with limited budgets to be able to compete with some of the bigger folks but they are the ones that are critical to providing a more competitive marketplace and those o are the ones will continue to focus on. with respect to consumer initiatives, robocall it is a number one consumer complaint that people have with the fcc. as of a couple years ago the fcc only issued one citation in the
counter you with respect to it. we have made it a top yorty which is why we taken steps to block some of those -- top priority -- and so we're refocusing the agency on getting the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to consumer protection. >> when you get into enforcement, robocalls, i would agree on that, that is a big issue is well is this because the numbers are not the actual number. things that are clearly getting authorities on indecency standards. i'm to force the times when are clear violations. ways that you can force existing law that are there would be of great benefit to the consumer across the country. >> if i might, part of the challenges some of these robocalls originate from outside of our country into one of the privileges of being the chairman as i have a chance to meet with and work with some of my counterparts abroad and i can tell the committee that i have spoken with a number of them to make sure that this is on their radar. it requires cooperation with some of the international counterparts to make sure we crackdown on all levels of some
of these robocalls. >> appreciate that. thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. ranking member coons. good to be on the subcommittee and looking forward to discussion of the fcc issues. i will say, madam chairman, i know this is not the committee of jurisdiction but we read that may be a new health care bill being unveiled as soon as maybe friday or next week. and i would urge all of our colleagues to urge their colleagues to have hearings on that issue just like we are having a hearing on this. that will affect one sixth of our economy and hundreds of millions of our fellow americans. i think it's important to have a hearing on that as a look at the budget of the fcc and other federal agencies. to all the commissioners, welcome. chairman pai, i do join my colleagues, senator coons and
senator leahy, and expressing disappointment to overturning of the privacy protections to the cra. obviously you have a different view, but in my view that action puts millions of americans can make them more vulnerable with respect to privacy information over the internet and also i we followed up writing with questions on net neutrality. where we have very real differences and i think my colleagues express them well. i was pleased to hear your comments about expanding access to the internet and positive comments about the lifeline program. yes, of course, all of us want to make sure that nobody is abusing it but it is also true that it has helped provide broadband access to millions more americans. wind you agree with that? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. in maryland i can tell you have a 39% participation rate, which means of those eligible, 39
operatives baiting now just about 230 once thousands -- 231,000 subscribers. people otherwise would not have access to the internet. in addition to the lifeline program, what additional measures are you taking or would you suggest that you take to expand access to broadband throughout the country, to every neighborhood, both urban, suburban and rural? >> that's a great question, senator, and it's a challenge given the geographic dispersion of our populations and the terrain challenges that we have. i'm committed that now is the time to close the digital divide. you know better than anyone given maryland's diversity that's an increasingly important for folks in your state around the country to get that access. i'm committed to using every tool in the toolbox to address it. that means making sure that we wisely spend the universal service funds that are under our administration, to direct them to uncertain parts of the country.
number two, making sure we modernize our regulations to incentivize the department of next-generation networks. that means everything from working cooperatively with state and local governments to adopt broadband from the policies, to making sure the smaller competitors can get access to allow them to deploy some for such a bit of my not be excited but this is one of the biggest cost elements to deploy networks. the other piece of that which is discretionary but it's the fcc shining a spotlight on the importance of this issue working with this body. last september i propose a concept of gigabit opportunity because i seen for myself and alaska native villages above the arctic circle and up or down to mississippi that are far to me folks on the wrong side of the digital divide in this because in a lot of cases there isn't a business case for building in some of these areas. companies see there's not a return on investment. i'm committed not so much as a regulator but as an american to make sure they get on the right side of the divide. it's why i propose a study which i'm grateful to senator capito for efficiency. there's a lot of ways congress
could advance this including through the air for such a plan if there is one to direct some of the federal funds to the fcc for broadband deployment. it's an important issue and i would love to work with you in any members of the subcommittee who are interested in solving the problem. >> thank you. commissioner clyburn, i know you recently finished your tour, i think connecting communities, bridging the two medications and opportunities divide that we've been discussing. what are your thoughts on this? is is an area where we can do more? is this an area where congressional action would be helpful? >> yes, yes and yes. one of the things that is the biggest driver, the biggest cost causer in terms of distress is an health. if you fall into a place where health is a challenge, that's usually the number one reason for bankruptcy. but if you connected community, if you people who are able to
communicate with her healthcare professionals in a telemedicine or telehealth, in that paradigm, if we can get that affordably through lifeline through satellite, through ngs, a geostationary, whatever it is called, in terms of satellite, if we could all of those in terms of infrastructure as well as through programs that are means tested, lifeline, targeted, then we can resolve many of our critical problems. so the answer is yes, no matter what the discipline, the matter what, if it's health, education, connectivity is key and we had to really use all of the tools in her arsenal, our regular arsenal to encourage innovation and investment and opportunities. >> thank you. look, madam chairwoman, of the four to working with you and members of the committee and commissioners on some of the suggestions that were made on this issue. thank you. >> senator moran. >> thank you very much.
congratulations on becoming the chairperson of this subcommittee. i know your efforts in regard to broadband appointment in west virginia, obviously we care about kansas and arkansas and connecticut. and i look forward to working with you and senator coons. we look for to working with you and senator coons to make sure the broadband is deployed. a recent side and i don't, mr. van hollen talked about all across country. i saw an article where rural america is now what used to be the problems of urban, suburban, urban, the core city centers is now spread to roanoke based on the statistics. we are all looking for help and this is technology and telecommunications is one of the areas in which i think we can provide hope for parts of the country that all of us care so deeply about. i wanted to take a moment, commissioner o'rielly, commissioner, chairman pai, i have appreciate working with without exception.
we've had in my view a good relationship of significant response and care and concern for the concerns that me and my staff arrays and other quarter for to that relationship continuing. there was contention, commissioner clyburn, and pass commissions and i'm not here to debate how well you all got along, but i know from time to time you are opposed to some of the decisions that the commission is currently making, but i would hope that you would assure me that you feel that your voice is being heard and the chap opportunity to participate in the process. sometimes it seems missing in the past commission. >> most of the time i feel that way. >> that's a good solid answer. i would encourage the chairman and the commission to work closer together. none of this stuff is easy, but voices need to be heard and results, commissioner o'rielly? >> i would say i admit of an
bias on this topic i must admit i differs i think the chairman has done a wonderful job in setting a new tone for the commission. there's a fresh breath of air and the thing even for my colleague i disagree of things, we move onto the next issue and try to work together. i think it's really moved real kudos to the german. >> i appreciate hearing that. the nature of the conversation we heard in the subcommittee and the commerce committee over the past several years in my view, there's an opportunity for that to be improved. i just encourage you all to take advantage of that -- >> i'd like to also give credit to my fine southern upbringing for that. >> since you put it that way, commissioner, what i china do is make sure the chairman i is behaving as a kansan should. [laughing] >> i do method can speed up the clock. >> if not we will talk to his mom and dad. chairman, perhaps the place to start with you, is with you on
we pack. we are looking for a smooth and orderly process. i want to be certain that no broadcaster is forced to go dark through no fault of their own. without this conversation numerous times with all of you. i assume your commitment remains to work with us to ensure that adequate resources are provided to these impact rod casters. i assume that's the case, yes? >> yes, sir. >> it as expected meta- money congress to decide, the 1.75 billion currently authorized to pay these moves to broadcasters is insufficient, how will the fcc go about reimbursing broadcasters for covered cost in their moves? is it going to be a pro rata circumstance in which you meter out payments for everyone? what you pay in full those who moved first? is there some other method by which you can fairly treat the circumstances that you find yourself in with that amount of money?
>> thank you for the question. we are in the early stages. we're still waiting to receive cost estimates. those estimates we estimate will come to the commission by july 12. at that time the staff will take a look at all the estimates that come in, determine which of those are reasonable and in aggregate them to try to figure what is the number that we think would be required if that is greater than 1.7 by building, you have my personal commitment i will come immediately to congress to let you know so the congress can make the appropriate decision. as to what the fcc would do at that point, we haven't yet determined, but hopefully will be able to work with you cooperatively on that topic. >> i worry about the slowness of congress. so if you come to us and there's a shortfall in the amount of money, how long will it take for us to respond and what our response week, i would encourage the commission to be prepared to think at how they treat broadcasters in that circumstance, which i think can help us perhaps if that occurs can help us move our process along as a?
>> absolutely. one of the core planks is to ensure that broadcasters are treated fairly and consistently with the spectrum active one part of that is not having to go out of pocket for expenses incurred as a result of the incentive auction repack. look for to working with you and members of the subcommittee on that. >> we got a lot of concern particularly for rural and small broadcasters where the demand for movement will occur probably early in the larger broadcast areas, and want to make sure that, i know, i see your finger, that -- that didn't sound good. [laughing] we want to make sure that those are not left behind in the process. >> absolutely. we've spaced out the repack over ten different basis. we've also taken different steps to make sure that broadcasters are aided in cases where circumstances beyond their control that impacted their ability to repack smoothly. for example, a six-month of the construction permit, in
situations like that. we are taking steps to make sure that broadcasters like that again are treated fairly and consistently with the law. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. i'd like to first of all wish my fellow west virginia a happy west virginia day today, june 20, 1863, our state was formed. now would like to call in senator manchin. >> i would like to wish my wife a happy birthday because it's west virginia day also. it helps me remember both of them. [laughing] >> mei stated one of those rates of broadband service in the nation when fcc voted to modernize its universal service program in 2011. in 2016 that is unfortunately where we remain, still the lowest. significant symbol brodkin coverage existed west virginia, inaccurate data has failed rural and remote community across this country. i say inaccurate data has caused us to be left behind. to help address this problem
senator wicker, senator schatz and others introduced the rural wireless service act of 2017. the legislation would standardize the way fcc? data to present accurate picture of the real world coverage experience currently available to consumers. fcc's website notes its current mobile coverage of data has certain limitations that likely result in an overstatement of coverage you and i talked about this. we cannot afford to liberal america behind, and we are very concerned about this so i guess what steps are you currently taking notes to address this? >> thanks for the question at this is something i take seriously having been west virginia an encino my own phonew you can't get his people and places like clay and other areas speedy you have been there, haven't you? >> i have. some desperate situations. it's hard especially haven't area that was hit by floods and people were calling 911.
i visited the 911 call center and talk to the dreck about how hard it was to make sure people were safe and circumstance of work connectivity can't be a given group we want to change that equation. part of changing it is making sure our data is accurate. i'm aware of the national broadband map has not been updated for some years. we want to make sure that we used data that is accurate based on the form. why can't reveal nonpublic information what i can see is what actively staff at the fcc to make sure that we have the right input so to speak so that the output in from the policy is the right one for west virginia. and i daresay for the country. >> anybody else have any comments on the? >> i agree that that form 477 process needs to be approved. we need more granular data. we need a staff to do so. we also need to make sure especially going forward with the mobility fund phase two and the other auctions that we have a challenge process that all companies no matter size or scope, that they could wait in.
>> i would hope you would look at the topography of our state. it's not kansas, okay? dances might be rural but it is flat. we are not so our challenges are much more compounded than any other state because of the train we have. we are beautiful but we have challenges that come with that beauty. >> i'm aware of the beauty of that mountain. and where the beauty and the depth of -- >> another critical component universal service program will be the remote areas fund. i'm encouraged by the commission which all of recently received information to move forward this remote areas fund no greater than you after the connect america fun reverse auction. there are almost 13,000 locations in west virginia alone in rural areas that are eligible for this remote area funds support. many communities lack access to a single viable broadbent option where there's no business case for provided to serve without our support. the market is not large enough to attract them. i believe remote areas fund must be targeted to reach these
telecommunication indiscretion. the gao report will take a look at whether the national broadband network is available across the country. i guess chairman pai, how much money are you putting towards revitalizing this? >> it's a priority, we're looking at options. >> you have the resources? >> i believe we do. >> yes. >> you know the urgency, we are in a stalemate if we can't get connected. i think senator capital, both of us understand being around our state, as the governor we had less than 50 percent of the people connected, we're up to about 85. we have every school or public building connected today, we don't have the market to drive the market forces, that's why we are dead in the water you have my personal commitment. last week i drove over 1600
miles from the walkie to wisconsin to visit everything from us to reservation to a farm town named spencer iowa and i saw for myself difficult it is to make sure people have digital opportunities so it's a top priority for me. >> i sat on the bottom of the priority list, i hope all of you are committed to putting in our top priority. >> without question. >> thank you senator boozman. >> thank you madam chair. that all of you for being here and we do thank you for your willingness to serve. i know you're working very hard in the best interest of the country. my questions really had to do with rural broadband. and it covered very well and it's interesting, the committee is made up of a lot of rural areas and as you can see from the questions, probably the majority of the questions you've asked have to do with that so it's so important. one of the things that's
being talked a lot about and really in the past we've had good bipartisan support, it has the opportunity of good bipartisan support is an infrastructure package and we talked in terms of railroads and runways and roads, the 3rs but we don't talk a lot about the infrastructure in terms of broadband so you got all the things in place and if you are connected as members have been talking about stories and you all have heard stories, it's simply more work so i think that's what i'd like to know commissioner pai and the rest of you guys can china and also but i hope that we have a firm commitment from you all and a sense of wanting to weigh in, be part of the infrastructure package in the sense of giving good advice, some of it may include not just the 3rs broadband and
accountability. >> absolutely. we defer to the elected branch of the government but in march i said to the extent congress is considering an infrastructure package i was hoping digital is a part of that, it's increasingly important for all walks of american life from agriculture to healthcare and there are too many americans who don't have it so i'm certainly committed to working. >> i would agree we make the decision , okay but where you can be helpful is getting good information in the sense of, that's what it's all about.i tell you, unless most of us have the opportunity all over our states and we are in the in hinterlands and it does get very difficult. commissioner o'reilly. >> thank you, two points, one is that the decision made in terms of infrastructure, i hope you look at the commissions high-cost fund for purposes of where the dollars are spent rather than creating a new program or using nka program in the past
has been difficult. we have demand for that we can't meet with our current dollars that could be sowed in with added dollars from congress in two would be that if you look at authority in terms of the commission's authority to push back on some of the barriers to deployment that have been imposed by state, local and tribal governments, we want to be respectful of them and i've been working with them for 25 years and some of these are the same problems we had in 1995. >> a couple examples regarding that. >> two-part dominate, one is the cost and the second is the approval process. i was in new orleans. >> that's what i said, pushing back on state and try. what specifically do we need? >> we have some authority, extensive authority but i think it would be added if congress were to amplify those points to make clear that we want broadband applied and there are things that already are banned by
localities and states such as rf exposure anesthetics that seem to keep coming back. the moratoria are still happening in the united states even though they are already prohibited in some regards so it's a constant fight over what the languages and if congress could clarify that it would be very helpful. >> i think the more thing is center is we need to make sure our house is in order and what i mean by that is when the approve and consider and evaluate the new technologies, we need to make sure they are appropriate for the environment so if i live on top of the knot in which i don't and won't, some of you that talk to me might not be the best way to connect so that satellite, we've got ngs owes, we've got other things that we need to make sure are on par that have a chance to be approved and green lit by this agency so again, it's
everything whateverybody said and the things we haven't talked about that you would help us with . >> that you madam chairman. >> chairman capito, ranking member cruz, thank you very much and congratulations mister capito, it's an honor to call you chairwoman. well done. i want to thank chairman and commissioners for coming out today to testify . as the commission is aware in montana, it's a world state . when you're from an urban area, you can take productivity for granted. we do not take productivity for granted in montana. if you look at the map that we put out, you see gaping holes across the west. this is not only a barrier for businesses, individuals it's a public safety issue. commissioner clyburn stated, the next don't reflect coverage in the areas.
we spent a lot of time, i pick up tens of thousands of miles in montana and in montana we don't measure time in terms of oil changes, it's tire changes around the state. you see areas where there is no cell coverage, let alone led coverage so very much look forward to working with each of you to close that. chairman pai, the commission recently completed a set option and is working on the repack and move abroad to new channels and wireless companies and the spectrum that they produce. in montana's auction it's an important step forward to expanding broadband into rural and tribal communities. we must take and make sure that we balance the right of wireless companies to have access to the spectrum that they want outright. with real needs of broadcasters, as they vacate that same spectrum. mister chairman, can you promise and commit to work with all those affected by
the incentive option and with congress if needed to make sure this transition will go as smoothly as possible? >> yes, i will.>> thank you for giving the marriage vows or something. [laughter] all right, i felt like it was sunday morning here, i will end by the grace of god. commissioner riley, another issue we have in montana is inhibiting the expansion of broadband. that's at the spectrum squatting. i'm confident they're buying up spectrum and not deploying it in areas that desperately needed. but instead of sitting on it and later selling it at a much higher price but enforcement authority and actions including tightening the rules and the fcc takes in order to make sure the spectrum is used practically and efficiently and not laced on a shelf awaiting maturity? >> absolutely, most companies
expedite the deployment of wireless frequencies as soon as possible as they need them for advancement of other networks but there are instances and i think your point is highlighted, we can i buildout requirements at the percentages needed to apply and make sure they maintain the licenses and i think that we could do that going forward. i don't think it's something you do backwards on, it's something we can take going forward. >> i appreciated and is an issue out west. for chairman pai and commissioner cliburn, i've been impressed by the way the tv white spaces can be used to better serve rural communities including use in education and public safety, rural health. i see the use of tv white spaces being used to get broadband access to hard-to-reach areas which is certainly lacking today. i'll start with mister clyburn. >> it allows for a more entry
by smaller providers and some of the existing providers who do things at a less expensive cost so to me, to be able to get rid of the burdens and hurdles have mostly been economic. it's been another way that with the, not legacy, to get to connecting communities so to me the underlying entry, cost entry lowers tremendously. >> and for these communities it tends to have a small budget and they're struggling on revenues. we don't need the coverage beyond what this whitespace can deliver. mister chairman? >> i think commissioner clyburn has the list of what's at stake. i've had a chance to talk to a number of the folks interested in this issue so we're actively working on it at the moment. >> commissioner riley, this
is my last question. of the main goals is to protect consumers. in montana you seen phone numbers and cameras using our area code for our entire state is406 . more folks into a sense of false security cause they see a 406, hometown area code pop-up and they think it's somebody that's okay. cameras are getting better and better and it's our responsibility to move at a fast pace to keep up with them. one of the recent actions the fcc has taken to combat spoofing, robo calls and telephone scans? >> i don't want to be dismissive of your question but something we're going to address two days from now when we had item before us and i think the chairman will address some of this. i want to be careful on spoofing, it's the ability to get a number goal even though you're outside the area but
not necessarily spoofing but in terms of committing fraud or harm to consumers, that in the arrest because the finite universe is in definition, we had the conversation about robo calls. legal robo calls themselves can have benefits and i want to be careful because there's fine lines here your question is important. >> in two days, what's going to happen is another hearing? >> there's a resolution of that meeting. >> yes, i'm not sure if i'm allowed to reveal any important positions. but i can say if i might that we've already taken steps to address this issue. for instance a couple months ago we allowed some of the carriers to walk spoofed calls. there clearly from undefined numbers, not assigned to any person in the united states but we wanted to explore the idea of allowing consumers to stage their phone company, do
not carry any calls not forme so sort of like a do not originate call . additionally, longer-term we're working with intelligent engineers and technologists on-call authentication to make sure the person who's calling is in fact that person. when you get a call from senator coombs, is actually senator coons calling you. that seems like a simple thing but in the challenged world we are in is difficult. >> we need to move fast. thank you. >> thank you, i have one additional question and i think the senator has a question or two he'd like to pose. i want to begin first of all by thanking all of you for being here and i want to thank the chairman for transparency in issues that you put forward. i think you're getting into some controversial areas and i think the more transparent you can be, the better and i'm glad you moved in that direction and i would encourage more. i last question is
commissioner o'reilly on to funding is relatively new to the underserved. i think what is it, 17 it started or 16? >> our decision? >> know, with the money going to cure and the fact to. >> two. so the rate of return, we did 16, the original caps for a number of years and were doing do, hopefully these issues are because of this. >> i'm wondering, do you have any data because what i'm concerned about is for instance in our state, $88 million a year additional for our state for underserved areas. i just, we've heard a lot about deep concerns about the mapping and the accuracy of the data because we know act only as we walk around or sounds like all we do when we
go home and go to the grocery store but it is what we do. you're always getting approached in the grocery store. i can't get internet or my daughter can't do her homework and then you go back to the carrier and is like yeah, we served this area when in actuality it's underserved. so i guess are you seeing, what kind of accountability are we going to have when you said all this money and we spend all this money that we're really going to get the results that we need? >> i think the question raised earlier in terms of underserved, underserved has been the commissions focused and have to be those that don't have service, that's the main priority and in terms of the dollars, we are trying to better pinpoint the dollars and how they're spent to make sure they go to those thatneed it. that are mapping , seven set of data that were going to approve and hopefully soon we improve that. right now it's done in a
broader sense and were trying to pinpoint that as best we can going forward. >> the phase ii money. >> all right, senator. >> on media ownership rules, your current role limit any broadcaster from reaching more than 39 percent of the country to ensure independence, variety includes local voices and if i understand correctly, the sec is reinstating the uhf discount which some would argue unwinds this requirement so you now can consider a merger between sinclair and tribune which could create a massive broadcast group with access to three quarters of all households working competitive media owners. you believe the 30 percent limit should be in place as a barrier to over concentration of the market and what factors will you be reviewing as you look at the ownership going forward and i have one more question. >> you for the question. at this point very preliminary so the discounts decision we made earlier was simply returning to the
status quo and the argument i made back then was that we could repeal discount without also considering whether adjustments to the national were necessary so we haven't made any determinations about what that number should be. our point was the administration or legal one as one goes as the other as the uhf discount goes we have to consider the national, we don't have a timeframe for considering that and of course we haven't received any papers with respect to the transaction you mentioned so i can't define about how our rules may be in effect or consideration. >> last, i referenced in my opening question that your current budget plan is to buy attrition reduce i think it was 102 ftes but i didn't hear clarity about what the plan is and what offices or functions might be reduced and i'm concerned about whether the regular day-to-day functioning of the agency that's supposed to
continue moving forward on things that maybe aren't a big national policy, issues that need to get move forward in order to carriers to have some predictability about processes or whether they'll continue or whether you expect significant disruptions as a result of this overall expenditure. >> a critical question senator. i'm confident we won't experience any negative impact like that on our core responsibilities but to give you one quick example i recently met with the sec team that handles the rate appeals so these are schools and libraries across the country looking for re-rated funding for a reason that have been sucked into this appeals process and some of the appeals have been around for almost 20 years so we recently found we needed more resources to handle some of those appeals and to prioritize laughing ones and the most difficult one so i met with them obviously to thank them for their hard work but hear from them about the challenges, these are tricky cases and at the end of the data message i left is that you will get the resources they need. these are institutions critical to american society
and we need to make sure we give them an answer, the applicants an answer in a more timely way so areas like that were going to make sure we meet those responsibilities in a way that will make congress proud and deliver quality for taxpayers. >> concerns about staffing levels, commissioner riley you made a passing reference around universal service funds. i also welcome hearing that as well in terms of . >> i will add to that i support what the chairman just put forth, i will say you your new example, when you squeeze a balloon in one place the air goes to the other and that's not necessarily all the way positive meaning that each sourced individuals are taken from somewhere else and that could possibly slow down efficiencies and other places. i agree and the chairman's job to be efficient and direct appropriately but continual, you know, what our
situation is, you know what we are faced with. where asked to do more increasingly with less and i am positive that there's going to, time where we will have diminishing returns and i think the time is quickly approaching. >> i would add to that that the conversation about rule broadband, both those decisions and most of the hard work are done by wireless companies because of the wireline bureau and the good folks working the high-cost programs and i've been working with them for many years now and quite frankly a number of items have to be stacked up because they don't have the research, it doesn't mean we can't resource from elsewhere or do the budget the chairman has put forward. we can do both, i think we can improve our efficiency. i was guessing they could use additional resources in one particular very important part of our agency. >> thank you for your graciousness and i appreciate your dedication to continuing
to move forward and execute on the agency. >> thank you and thank all of you again, in particular witnesses for the testimony. there are no further questions, the record will remain open until june 27 at 234 subcommittee members to submit any payments or questions for witnesses for the record.the subcommittee meeting is adjourned, thank you.
republican senate majority leader mitch mcconnell sent a discussion draft of the health care law replacement. it will be released thursday with senate debate beginning next week. after the congressional budget office scores the bill. we could see about next week, lot watch our live coverage on c-span2 when they gamble in at 11 am eastern. a forum on opioid addiction members of congress and healthcare analysts discussed federal policies to treat addiction and prevent opioid abuse. we also looked at the effect of the republican health care proposals. this two-hour event was hosted by the washington post. hello.