The House Democratic Caucus elected Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 117th Congress that begins January 3, 2021. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest continuous standing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The committee has jurisdiction over telecom 5G policy, the digital divide and driving technology, among other issues.
Eastern Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) was chosen by her colleagues as the Republican Leader of the committee — the first woman to hold that role. Currently, she’s the top Republican on the Consumer Protection subcommittee.
McMorris is stepping in for Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). In 2019, Inside Towers reported he would not seek reelection and would retire from Congress in 2021.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association and the NAB congratulated both lawmakers.
“We applaud [Pallone’s] efforts to close the digital divide through federal support for areas in need of service. We look forward to continue working together to ensure ubiquitous broadband and a 5G-ready workforce,” said WIA VP Government and Public Affairs Matt Mandel. “We look forward to continuing to work with Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers on common-sense policies to bring broadband to all communities and win the race to 5G,” he added.
WIA also thanked Walden “for his leadership during his long tenure on the committee, including the major achievements in the RAY BAUM’s Act.” Mandel said, “We have enjoyed working with him on impactful policy for wireless infrastructure deployment and wish him the best in his future.”
NAB too, praised Pallone and Walden, and congratulated McMorris Rodgers on her elevation to Ranking Member. “Rep. Rodgers brings a wealth of leadership and policymaking experience to this position, and we look forward to continuing to work with her on important issues affecting the future of free and local broadcasting,” says NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith.
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