Government Report: January 14, 2011

AAF Government Report

January 14, 2011

Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

Daniella Martinez, Federation Intern

AAF Files Comments with FDA

The American Advertising Federation, joined by the Association of National Advertisers, recently filed comments with the Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the agency’s proposal to include graphic pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging and advertising depicting negative health consequences of smoking. The comments argue that the proposal goes far beyond what is permitted by the First Amendment’s protection for commercial speech. Approval of these warnings would set a dangerous precedent for similar warnings on other disfavored products and services.

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Genachowski Asks Broadcasters to Relinquish Space

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has said the agency will ask broadcasters to voluntarily give up currently unused spectrum to support the growing need for space for cell phones, text messages, mobile Internet and other new technologies. Under the Chairman’s plan, broadcasters would share in the proceeds gained from auctioning off the spectrum space. Most broadcasters oppose the plan arguing that they will need currently unused space for future advances such as digital TV viewing on mobile devices and 3-D programming. The Commission is still in need of final congressional approval to hold the auctions.

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House Bills Cut Funding for Public Broadcasting

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., introduced legislation to cut off federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after fiscal year 2013, and require that federal tax dollars allocated to certain public radio programs be transferred to reduce the public debt. The Congressman stated that NPR (National Public Radio) programs “are fully capable of standing on their own two feet and getting commercial sponsors in the free market.” The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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Upton Promises Vigorous FCC Oversight

New House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., pledged that oversight hearings on FCC issues will take place early and often. Most notable will be the hearings and challenges on the new network neutrality rules recently issued by the Commission.

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Rep. Clyburn wants Fairness Doctrine Reinstated

South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, the third ranking Democrat in Congress, has called for the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine in the wake of the recent deadly shootings in Arizona. The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to present multiple sides of controversial issues. The Commission stopped enforcing the Doctrine in 1987, stating that it hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights. Attempts to revive the document since have been numerous, with the last piece of legislation being introduced in 2005.

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Republican Members of Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Selected

House Republicans have chosen the following members to serve on the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees. Democratic membership of the committees had not been finalized as of press time.

Ways and Means

Dave Camp (MI), Chairman
Wally Herger (CA)
Sam Johnson (TX)
Kevin Brady (TX)
Paul Ryan (WI)
Devin Nunes (CA)
Pat Tiberi (OH
Geoff Davis (KY)
Dave Reichert (WA)
Charles Boustany, Jr. (LA)
Dean Heller (NV)
Peter Roskam (IL)
Jim Gerlach (PA)
Tom Price (GA)
Vern Buchanan (FL)
Adrian Smith (NE)*
Aaron Schock (IL)*
Chris Lee (NY)*
Lynn Jenkins (KS)*
Erik Paulsen (MN)*
Rick Berg (ND)*
Diane Black (TN)*

* new to committee

Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton (MI), Chairman
Joe Barton (TX)
Cliff Stearns (FL)
Ed Whitfield (KY)
John Shimkus (IL)
Joseph Pitts (PA)
Mary Bono Mack (CA)
Greg Walden (OR)
Lee Terry (NE)
Mike Rogers (MI)
Sue Wilkins Myrick (NC)
John Sullivan (OK)
Tim Murphy (PA)
Michael Burgess (TX)
Marsha Blackburn (TN)
Phil Gingrey (GA)
Steve Scalise (LA)
Bob Latta (OH)
Brian Bilbray (CA)*
Gregg Harper (MS)*
Leonard Lane (NJ)*
Bill Cassidy (LA)*
Brett Guthrie (KY)*
Pete Olsen (TX)*
Charlie Bass (NH)*
David McKinley (WV)*
Mike Pompeo (KS)*
Adam Kinzinger (IL)*
Cathy McMorris Rogers (WA)*
Cory Gardner (CO)*
Morgan Griffith (VA)*

* new to committee

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