P> Sen. Larry Pressler, R-S.D., is stepping up his campaign to sell up to 25 percent of the government-controlled spectrum. Such a sale would cost the government billions of dollars because the Pentagon and other agencies would have to replace thousands of radios, radars and satellite communications links that use the radio frequencies.
Pressler, chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, also wants to give the Federal Communications Commission control of the government spectrum, create industry spectrum- management boards and reserve a nationwide block of frequencies for public safety purposes.
Industry successfully eliminated an effort by Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., to restrict companies' hiring of foreign experts, such as software programmers. However, the immigration debate moves to the Senate floor where the infotech industry has less clout, and where new immigration limits are favored by many senators -- such as Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.
House Republicans canceled a March 5 vote on a deregulation bill long favored by industry. The decision followed a veto threat by President Bill Clinton. Republican leaders concluded that they would not be able to make the bill a law, providing extra ammunition to Clinton's re-election campaign.
The House passed HR 497, creating a nine-member, two-year commission that likely will shape the future of on-line gambling -- potentially a multibillion dollar industry in a few years. That is, provided the on-line gambling industry can cut its way through a thicket of state and federal gambling regulations. The bill was spearheaded by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. A companion Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., is making slow progress toward approval.
Stung by apparent lobbying by the Commerce Department and other agencies, House and Senate Republicans introduced a bill to further restrict lobbying-related activities by federal agencies. The Federal Agency Anti-Lobbying Act of 1996 requires the General Accounting Office to investigate suspected lobbying by agencies. If the GAO discovers agency lobbying, it may increase the chance that the Justice Department would pursue a criminal case. The bill is sponsored by Rep. William Clinger, R-Pa., and Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
The National Science Foundation plans to revamp its supercomputer development program into a new "Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure." The administration has requested $65 million for 1997.