Lawmakers express D Block support
Six federal lawmakers today participated in a press conference in which they confirmed their support for reallocating the 700 MHz D Block to public safety and provided insight on the various ways in which Congress can make it a reality.
Currently, the focus on Capitol Hill is on the Super Committee, which is charged with proposing legislation that would reduce the massive federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. The Super Committee is supposed to make its proposal by Nov. 23.
Whether the Super Committee proposal would include language reallocating the D Block to first responders and make billions of dollars in funding available for the buildout of a public-safety LTE network remains in doubt. However, Beltway sources indicate that language enabling the federal government to generate billions of dollars in revenue via spectrum auctions has been tied to D Block reallocation within the Super Committee.
Even if the Super Committee does not include the D Block language in its legislative proposal, there are other avenues for getting the language passed by the end of the year. During today’s press event, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated that D Block language could be included in an appropriations bill, according to Sean Kirkendall, spokesman for the Public Safety Alliance.
“Schumer said that, if it didn’t get done in Super Committee, they’d be looking to attach it to any vehicle they could in the Senate, including the omnibus appropriations bill that they’re going to have to move this year,” Kirkendall said.
Organized by the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), the pro-public-safety press conference included participation from four other lawmakers: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).