“In spite of how important this issue is to consumers and businesses, this committee dragged its feet, and, instead, fixated on going after President Trump in an attempt to undo the 2016 election. That nonsense is now taking place in other committees rather than our own. 

“This is not how we pass good bipartisan legislation. This is not how we go about socializing and debating good legislation. This is not how we properly serve our constituents.

“Mr. Chairman, I will support this bill, because I believe STELA should be allowed to expire, but I am certainly not happy about the way we have arrived at this markup today.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following opening statement at today’s markup of H.R. 5140, the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Ranking Member Collins: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Working in a bipartisan manner, last year this committee and Congress passed the Music Modernization Act, which was signed into law. Working in a similarly bipartisan manner, this committee and Congress passed the CASE Act, which we are waiting for the Senate to pass. Absent distractions, and, with robust bipartisan and stakeholder engagement, this committee has proven it can get work — great work — done. So, why are we just now marking up legislation for an expiring program that affects Americans in every corner of the country? I am not at all happy with how the markup of this bill came about.

The chairman waited until just weeks before Section 119 is set to expire to draft a bill in secret and rush it to markup. Just this past Friday, I was asked to sign onto some unseen satellite compulsory license bill. It was not even introduced until Monday. No one even knew whether we were really going to consider this bill today until 48 hours ago. Stakeholders are up in arms over the surprise, some arguing this bill unfairly singles them out, and, based on discussions over the past two days, I would be willing to bet the chairman’s own members share concerns with the process for its consideration.

This should not have happened. We have been talking about satellite compulsory licenses for years now, but we did not hold a hearing with stakeholders to discuss why this has not been fixed yet.

In spite of how important this issue is to consumers and businesses, this committee dragged its feet, and, instead, fixated on going after President Trump in an attempt to undo the 2016 election. That nonsense is now taking place in other committees rather than our own.

This is not how we pass good bipartisan legislation. This is not how we go about socializing and debating good legislation. This is not how we properly serve our constituents.

Mr. Chairman, I will support this bill, because I believe STELA should be allowed to expire, but I am certainly not happy about the way we have arrived at this markup today. I am supporting this bill because I want to ensure consumers’ screens do not go dark through no fault of their own. I want to land this plane, not steer it into a mountain.