Skip to primary navigation Skip to content
July 25, 2023

Ranking Member Lofgren Floor Statement for the Record in Opposition of H.R. 1338, the Satellite Telecommunications Streamlining Act

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to vote “NO” on H.R. 1338, the “Satellite and Telecommunications Streamlining Act.”

This bill seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of FCC’s spectrum licensing, a goal I support.  However, the bill, as written, would go well beyond FCC’s expertise and mission to regulate spectrum by also seeking to regulate space safety and orbital debris.  That is deeply concerning and it is the reason I am speaking in opposition to HR 1338. 

As Ranking Member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I recognize the importance of maintaining the long-term sustainability of the space environment. U.S. citizens depend on assets in space to support our national security, give us accurate weather forecasts, enable communications services, and so much more. It is essential that we get space safety right.

The space community, including the National Space Council, is coalescing around the Department of Commerce as the lead agency with responsibility for space situational awareness, orbital debris monitoring, and related, critical space safety activities.

Setting up a fragmented licensing or certification regime—as I believe this bill, as written, would do—is in no one’s interest.  It would create confusion and could even harm U.S. economic competitiveness and global leadership in space.  For decades, the U.S. has taken a whole-of-government approach to orbital debris, and has actively coordinated on approaches with other nations.  This bill would allow the FCC to act on its own in regulating orbital debris mitigation,   an approach that would likely confuse and ultimately undermine, rather than strengthen, efforts to reduce and mitigate the risk of orbital debris.

The Chairman of the Science Committee and I are completely aligned in our concerns around this bill. I am committed to continuing the Science Committee’s work, on a bipartisan basis, to address the serious threat of orbital debris to the future sustainability of the space environment comprehensively and holistically.

I urge Members to vote “NO” on H.R. 1338, and I yield back the balance of my time.