Hoping the Select Committee Actions Help Close the Digital Divide

Last week the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the “supercommittee” held its first public meeting in more than a month. The Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf lead the hearing along side members of the congressional Super Committee to discuss potential federal budget cuts. The committee has a November 23rd deadline to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction measures. The Senate Democrats on the congressional supercommittee are prepared to proposed a plan that would cut almost $3 trillion over 10 years and includes $1.3 trillion in tax increases, according to an anonymous congressional aide.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), one of the panel’s two co-chairs, said, “We aren’t there yet, but I am confident we are making progress,” she said in her opening remarks. “And I’m hopeful we are moving quickly enough to meet our rapidly approaching deadline.”

The Select Committee is reported to be considering changes like restructuring the tax code, changing eligibility for basic social services, and creating a new spectrum auction. For those who have not heard about spectrum yet- it is the airwaves that media outlets and wireless cell phone providers use to stream their products. Spectrum is the invisible radio frequencies that transmit TV and it is also used to transfer data through emails and surfing the Internet. The Select Committee is considering auctioning off the airwaves for billions of dollars to help reduce the country’s debt.

In a letter to the White House some of the committee members, “Spectrum auctions would generate tens of billions of dollars in auction proceeds, help the Select Committee meet its deficit-reduction goals, stimulate billions in private-sector capital investment, provide a job-creating boost to the economy and ensure that America continues to lead the world in broadband innovation.”

As the Select Committee continues to struggle to finalize a proposal by the deadline it seems everything is on the table for consideration. Here’s hoping the action of the Select Committee will create jobs and close the digital divide because the future of thousands of American families hangs in the balance as the rates of poverty and unemployment hit historic levels.


  1. Burroughston Broch says: