Public safety prepares another D Block push on Capitol Hill
First-responder representatives are planning another concentrated effort to encourage federal lawmakers to include 700 MHz D Block reallocation to public safety and several billions of dollars in LTE network funding in the legislative proposal coming from the deficit-focused Super Committee.
Under current law, the Super Committee is supposed to propose at least $1.2 billion in deficit-reduction measures by Nov. 23, which is less than two weeks away. Media reports indicate that Republicans and Democrats on the committee have each offered proposals, but both offers have been rejected.
The fact that each party has made a proposal “shows progress,” said Sean Kirkendall, spokesman for the Public Safety Alliance. Kirkendall said he was particularly encouraged that the recent Republican proposal included tax-revenue generation — a strategy that many Beltway sources expected Republicans to avoid.
Media reports indicate that some proposals include revenue generation via spectrum auctions. Public-safety organizations want the Super Committee proposal to include language that mirrors S.911, the bill that passed the Senate Commerce Committee. That legislation would reallocate the D Block to public safety, provide $12 billion to pay for the LTE network deployment and would earmark at least $6.5 billion for deficit reduction.
Members of the Public Safety Alliance will visit Capitol Hill next week in an effort to convince lawmakers to include such language in the Super Committee proposal, Kirkendall said.
In addition, public-safety officials also plan to speak with Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over spectrum issues, Kirkendall said. First-responder representatives have had healthy dialog recently with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who is chairman of the relevant House subcommittee that would consider D Block reallocation.
“We will meet with some members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” Kirkendall said. “We’ve had good discussions with them during the last couple of weeks.”