Notwithstanding support in the Senate for legislation that would reallocate 700 MHz D-block spectrum to public safety entities, House Republican leaders voiced doubt at a hearing last week about public safety claims that reallocation is needed to ensure sufficient access to wireless broadband spectrum in times of emergency. Debate during the hearing, conducted by the House Communications subcommittee, appeared to cast a pall over a draft Senate bill, sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and ranking committee member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), that would require reallocation of D-block frequencies to public safety. That bill would also create a non-profit entity that would hold the D-block license and build the network with funds raised from voluntary incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum. A separate, but similar measure was introduced last month by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Rockefeller is pushing for passage of his legislation by the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Although ranking subcommittee member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) praised the Rockefeller-Hutchison draft as “a well thought-out proposal,” Walden pointed to public safety’s current 100 MHz spectrum allotment in countering the argument that reallocation is needed, as he noted that public safety “has more spectrum than the vast majority of wireless providers.” As Walden further charged that public safety is “woefully” underutilizing the 24 MHz of spectrum that was cleared for their use in the digital television transition, subcommittee member Lee Terry (R-NE) queried, “if you aren’t using the 24 MHz properly or efficiently, why would we give you ten more?” Ranking House Energy & Commerce committee member Henry Waxman (D-CA), however, defended the Rockefeller bill as one that “goes a long way toward addressing concerns about governance, accountability, interoperability and how we pay for the public safety network” as he urged his colleagues to “emulate” Rockefeller’s approach in adopting legislation by the 9/11 anniversary.