“Now [the FCC] may have the votes to do this, Mr. President, but I'm not giving up. I've got a bill along with Senator Schumer—yes, Chuck and I are working on a bill together, Senator Cantwell, Senator Schatz—and we're going to have some others on the bill that says, ‘Look, this is Congress's decision, not FCC's decision. And it would allocate a much more modest sum to these foreign satellite companies, and I'd like the FCC, if it would, to step back, continue on with its auction planning and give us a chance to negotiate on behalf of the American taxpayer."
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today delivered remarks on the FCC’s C-band proposal on the Senate floor.
Kennedy’s full remarks can be viewed here and by clicking on the image below.
Select remarks include:
“I want to go on record as saying 5G is going to be extraordinary. But it’s not going to happen overnight, and the emergency that some of our telecommunications companies are trying to create is not an emergency that really exists, because they have something they want to sell you.”
“Right now, using this C-band spectrum are a number of satellite companies, most of which are foreign-owned. The major satellite companies that are using it right now happen to be domiciled in Luxembourg, a wonderful country, wonderful people. You know what they paid to use that spectrum, to the American people? Nothing. Zero. Nada.”
“The satellite companies said to the FCC, we’re using the C-band right now, and, even though we didn’t pay a single solitary dime for it, we know the telecommunications companies want it to implement 5G, so here’s what we’ll do: You, FCC, give us the C-band. Give it to us, and we’ll turn around and make sure that the telecommunications companies get to use it. We’ll lease it to them, and the amount of money that the foreign satellite companies would have made was about $70 billion. I call it the Bank Job robbery.”
“If the FCC would do it right, we would take in $70 billion for the American taxpayer, and we could use that money to implement rural broadband, and then everybody is happy.”
“The chairman says we’re going to bid it out, but we’re going to take $15 billion of the money that comes in and we’re going to give it to the foreign satellite companies. For what? They don’t own it. They don’t have a license. They just have a privilege. He’s going to give $5 billion to them to relocate to different spectrum, and then he’s going to give them $10 billion—that’s nine zeros—in walking-around money just to go away. That’s why I call it the Baby Driver heist.”
“I don’t agree with [Chairman Pai] that he made a good deal to give $10 billion away to these foreign satellite companies—$10 billion of American taxpayer money. And the chairman is going to present that to vote on it on February 28, and he says he’s got the votes to pass it. I can tell you this is not going to be unanimous. And it’s not going to be non-controversial to give away $15 billion to somebody who doesn’t have a property interest. He says we’ve got to do it because we’re in a . . . race with China. Okay, I agree with that. And your point is? He says, ‘Well, if we don’t do it, the satellite companies are going to sue us.’ That’s another straw man.”
“There’s absolutely not a single solitary reason why the chairman of the FCC has to put a vote in front of the FCC to give away $15 billion of taxpayer money. We can negotiate a better deal, Mr. Chairman. We can negotiate a better deal. The chairman of the FCC does not need to become known as the $15 billion man. He needs to hold up, and let’s talk to the satellite companies and negotiate a better deal. Now, if he's not willing to do that, he needs to at least tell President Trump, because you know who's going to get blamed for this? The president. It won't be his fault, but he's going to get blamed for it because it happened on his watch.”
“Now [the FCC] may have the votes to do this, Mr. President, but I'm not giving up. I've got a bill along with Senator Schumer—yes, Chuck and I are working on a bill together, Senator Cantwell, Senator Schatz—and we're going to have some others on the bill that says, ‘Look, this is Congress's decision, not FCC's decision. And it would allocate a much more modest sum to these foreign satellite companies, and I'd like the FCC, if it would, to step back, continue on with its auction planning and give us a chance to negotiate on behalf of the American taxpayer.”