7:24 PM EDT
Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I thank the distinguished chairman. My amendment had very well founded and grounded intentions, and that is in this massive effort, the hard work of this committee, the fine leadership of Mr. Dingell and Mr. Markey, fine leadership of Mr. Barton and Mr. Rush, all focus on greater opportunities. And so this amendment was to provide greater opportunity for, in fact, the small businesses, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, businesses

in rural areas to access, if you will, the broadband, the DSL, but opportunities to be a franchisee, if you will, and be able to have small entities that would be part of this massive reformation of this system.

So this was an effort to draw upon the funding for a particular programmatic provision in the legislation and to allow the small companies to pay less fees so they could be competitive enough to engage in what I think is a very, very important business.

I hope that as we make our way through this process of legislation and as we make our way to the Senate, we [Page: H3571]

will be reminded of language specifically that could ensure the energy of small businesses to be created. Someone gave me a terminology, I hope I have it correct, but the productivity of technology or the expansion of technology amongst many, many different groups and specifically the women-owned disadvantaged and small businesses. However, I am

also aware of the fact that the peg programming supports stations like Access Houston and covers programming for issues dealing with women and minorities. So I am particularly sensitive to that issue.

Even with that in mind I do not want to eliminate, if you will, eliminate the opportunity for small businesses with this massive reformation of this broadband and DSL system as we move forward with this legislation.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

7:27 PM EDT
Joe Barton, R-TX 6th

Mr. BARTON of Texas. I want to commend the gentlewoman from Houston for her leadership on this issue. I am somewhat unclear what her intentions are in terms of moving towards a vote. I will pledge to her to continue to work with her, if she were to withdraw the amendment, to reach a mutually acceptable resolution as we go to conference with the other body, but I am going to follow her yield or her wishes on the pending amendment.

If she calls it for a vote, I will vote yes on the amendment. If she wishes to withdraw it, I will work with her as we move forward in the normal channels of the legislative process.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

7:28 PM EDT
Bobby Rush, D-IL 1st

Mr. RUSH. I thank the gentlewoman. Mr. Chairman, her amendment is a very worthwhile amendment. It goes a long way toward getting to the essence of a problem that I have determined is one of the barriers to economic parity within this Nation.

Mr. Chairman, we are sick and tired in my community of just being viewed as consumers of technology. We also want to be providers of technology. And this amendment, the Jackson-Lee amendment, would go a long way in making us providers of that amendment.

[Time: 19:30]

7:29 PM EDT
Albert Wynn, D-MD 4th

Mr. WYNN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.

I wanted to compliment her on her amendment because it focuses on a very important area and that is the diversity of technology providers, focusing on women-owned business, minority businesses and small businesses that want to compete as providers of technology, and the thrust of this bill is providing more competition. She recognizes it is providing an opportunity to help these small businesses compete.

There has been a lot of talk about build-out in neglected communities. One aspect of the bill that has not been considered is the fact that there are a lot of competitors who may go into other communities, underserved communities, who may be enthusiastic about the opportunities she is trying to provide.

So I wanted to indicate that she is on the right track with her amendment.

7:30 PM EDT
Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I thank the distinguished gentleman from Maryland for his comments.

I want to inquire of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey) and thank him for his leadership. We know the leadership you have given. We understand the dilemma I have here because I support programmatic funding that PEG provides as well. However, I think it is important that we have at least a language statement, if you will, about the importance of small, minority, women-owned businesses to be engaged in this superhighway and this new DSL and broadband.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey).

7:31 PM EDT
Edward J. Markey, D-MA 7th

Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for raising this very important issue, and really, since the beginning of my career on the Telecommunications Subcommittee, working with Mickey Leland from your district, adding in language that ensured a larger percentage of minority participation in legislation, it is without question a high goal.

What I think we all want to be sure of here is that in communities it does not take resources away from municipalities that might have gone to those very same communities, but I think we can work together in order to accomplish that.