At a Capitol Hill news conference last Friday, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller joined with four other Senate Democrats in calling for passage of bipartisan public safety legislation by the ten-year 9/11 anniversary that would allocate the 700 MHz D-block to public safety. The legislation would also allow funds accrued from voluntary incentive auctions of television broadcast spectrum to be used to deploy a nationwide, interoperable public safety network in the D-block. Also appearing at the news conference were Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillbrand (D-NY), Amy Klobucher (D-MN) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). These lawmakers voiced support for bipartisan draft legislation that combines elements of the D-block reallocation bill introduced by Rockefeller last January and spectrum reform proposals championed by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. In addition to allocating the D block to public safety users, the draft Rockefeller-Hutchison bill would establish a non-profit entity, known as the Public Safety Broadband Corporation (PSBC), which would hold the D-block license and build the network using funds raised from voluntary incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum. The PSBC would be empowered to sign roaming agreements with commercial providers and negotiate contracts with commercial vendors that would construct and operate the network. While the PSBC would be authorized to set interoperability and other rules for the D-block network, the FCC would be permitted to adopt rules “if necessary and in the public interest” that would provide public safety agencies with priority roaming rights on commercial wireless networks in times of emergency. The draft bill also includes various proposals to encourage spectrum sharing by federal agencies and improve spectrum efficiency. Noting that the bipartisan draft bill projects a deficit reduction of $10 billion that will satisfy members of the House Republican majority, Rockefeller voiced hope that the two chambers “will come together” to pass legislation in time for the 9/11 anniversary. Committee counsel Neil Fried stressed that there are “multiple issues” that remain to be resolved that will make it a “tough challenge to actually pass law and get it to the president by that date.”