I rise in opposition to H.R. 1338 The Satellite and Telecommunications Streamlining Act.
As Chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, I have long been a supporter of the commercial space industry. We have seen tremendous growth in this sector in recent years and I want to be certain that Congress enables continued growth in this sector.
I share the goal of shortening and streamlining the licensing process for satellites on orbit. However, I’m concerned that H.R. 1338 goes beyond the task of streamlining this process and instead grants FCC additional authorities for which it is not suited and would be duplicative of authorities at other agencies.
There is no doubt that FCC has sole authority of licensing spectrum. However, HR 1338 would provide authorities to FCC on topics such as space safety and orbital debris. These would be new topics for FCC, and I am concerned that an unintended consequence would be to instead lengthen the time it takes for FCC to issue licenses.
Another area of concern is the proper role for agencies managing space activities across the federal government. This has been an ongoing discussion since the Trump Administration and continues through this day. By providing these new authorities to FCC, we are short-circuiting a process that requires a thoughtful, holistic approach.
The House Science Committee is currently working on commercial space legislation. I would note that I was a cosponsor of the American Space Commerce and Free Enterprise Act in 2018. In that bill, we carved out exemptions for FCC’s activities out of respect for their jurisdiction.
In short, I believe we can streamline FCC’s licensing authorities without granting additional authorities and we can do so in a manner to ensure the continued growth of America’s commercial space sector.
Thank you, and I yield back.