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Texans well-positioned for leadership in Congress

 - TAB preparing for DC agenda, calls

With Congress now officially in session and committee and subcommittee assignments completed, a handful of Texans are slated to serve on the legislative panels most important to broadcasters.

On the House side, four Texans have been named to the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, while two are slated for the House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

A whopping 19 serve on the Republican Study Committee which charts the policy course for the GOP in the lower chamber, not including Chairman Bill Flores, R-Waco.

Texans serving on the Judiciary subcommittee include Reps. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio; Ted Poe, R-Humble; Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi; and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston.

Commerce subcommittee members from Texas include Reps. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, and Joe Barton, R-Ennis. This is Olson’s first stint on the panel.

In the upper chamber, Sen. John Cornyn is serving as Majority Whip in addition to remaining on Senate Judiciary.  Sen. Ted Cruz also continues to serve on both Energy & Commerce and Judiciary – which combined oversee all federal policy regarding broadcasting.

Texas’ growing influence in Congress will be increasingly important to local broadcasters as the committees gradually take up a potential rewrite of not only the Telecommunications Act, but also the Copyright Act.

Those issues will likely dominate broadcasters’ federal agenda along with the FCC’s voluntary incentive spectrum auction and efforts to rewrite the tax code. Tax reform could be especially challenging for the industry as the efforts’ chief advocates propose reducing the deductibility of advertising costs to 50%, with the balance to be amortized over five years.

TAB and NAB are working closely on these issues, with efforts ramping up in late February as the NAB presents its annual State Leadership Conference on Feb. 24. TAB will follow up over the next two days with meetings with nearly every member of the Texas congressional delegation. Additional meetings will be held in districts throughout the state over the coming months.

Questions?  Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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