As reported last week, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), unveiled a draft bill, the Viewer Protection Act. This bill empowers the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fully protect both broadcast viewers and mobile broadband users who may be affected by the upcoming Broadcast Incentive Auction by funding viewer education efforts, creating an additional $1 billion emergency fund for broadcasters and directing the FCC to create a repacking plan within six months of the conclusion of the auction.
However, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated that he is not on board with Pallone’s new bill. Walden, who’s generally sympathetic to broadcasters’ issues, stated that Republicans have pushed for more funding to relocate stations after the auction. “We’ve always felt that there may need to be more revenue there,” he said, but “there will be a time to deal with that after we see how the auction moves forward.”