House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers R-Wash., said today that she is looking to pass legislation firming up the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum auction authority after a similar measure failed to clear the Senate last year.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers talked about the importance of that legislative effort at an event organized by Punchbowl News.

“We’re going to work,” the committee chair said. “It’s important that we reach an agreement as soon as possible and that we ensure that the FCC can be opening up new [spectrum[ bands and ensuring that we continue to lead in the allocation of spectrum,” she said.

There’s a pressing need to get a new spectrum bill on the books as the FCC’s spectrum auction authority is set to expire on March 9.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers cited the need for legislative action on spectrum issues as fitting into U.S. competition with China on technology development.

“American leadership matters, and we see a growing threat from China,” she said. “China is making it very clear that they want to lead from an economic and technological, as well as a military power.”

“They want to be the dominant power,” she continued. “All of that is informing our efforts and only underscores the importance when it comes to an issue like spectrum, it is a national security issue.”

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.