Telecommunications

115th Congress

  • Cosponsored Legislation to Protect Consumers from Online Booking Scams: Senator Fischer joined Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) in introducing the Stop Online Booking Scams Act. This legislation protects consumers from illegitimate third-party websites that trick consumers into thinking they are making reservations directly with hotels.
  • Lead Bipartisan Letter to FCC Advocating for Rural Broadband: Senators Deb Fischer and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led a bipartisan group of 56 senators in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about rural broadband. In the letter, the senators urged the agency to take additional steps to continue advancing broadband deployment in our nation’s rural areas. They also expressed concerns about the high cost of these critical services in many rural communities and stressed that more Americans should have the opportunity to purchase affordable broadband to keep them connected. A signed copy of the senators’ letter to the FCC is available online here.

  • Reintroduced DIGIT Act To Encourage the Growth of the Internet of Things: As a member of the bipartisan Internet of Things working group, Senator Fischer joined Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to reintroduce the Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act. The bill seeks to encourage the growth of this globally interconnected network and helps identify barriers to its advancement. The DIGIT Act would convene a working group of federal entities that would consult with private sector stakeholders and provide recommendations to Congress. The bill also directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a proceeding assessing the spectrum needs required to support the Internet of Things.

  • Reforming the FCC Lifeline Program to Ensure Families Receive Phone and Broadband Service: Senator Fischer and Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) introduced the Preserving State Commission (PSC) Oversight Act. The bill would reinforce existing law and ensure that states have primary authority to determine which carriers participate in the FCC universal service Lifeline program. The Lifeline program provides phone and broadband service to Americans who cannot otherwise afford it. In June 2016, Senator Fischer, along with nine other senators and fifteen U.S. representatives, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler raising concerns with FCC actions on the Lifeline program. Among these was a concern about a FCC regulation preempting state authority on carrier decisions.

  • Led Bipartisan Letter to FCC on Rural Broadband: Senators Deb Fischer and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led a bipartisan group of 56 senators in writing a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding rural broadband. In the letter, addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the senators urged the agency to take additional steps to continue advancing broadband deployment in our nation’s rural areas. They also expressed concerns about the high cost of these critical services in many rural communities and stressed that more Americans should have the opportunity to purchase affordable broadband to keep them connected.

114th Congress

  • Encouraged the Availability of Wireless Services for Rural Consumers: Senator Fischer joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to introduce the Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act. The bill would make unused spectrum available for use by both rural and small carriers to expand wireless service coverage. The language from the Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee as part of the MOBILE NOW Act.

  • Led New Bill to Stop Caller-ID Spoofing and Protect Consumers from Fraud and Abuse: Senator Fischer Joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to introduce the Spoofing Prevent Act of 2016. The bill would close existing legal loopholes that have allowed fraudulent caller-ID information to be conveyed through texts, certain IP-enabled voice services, and calls originating outside the United States. Caller-ID spoofing refers to the practice of deliberately falsifying telephone numbers and/or names relayed through caller-ID. Major targets of spoofing often include seniors, veterans, and law enforcement. Click here to read the Omaha World-Herald’s coverage of this problem and Senator Fischer’s legislation to address it.  

  • Worked to Ensure 911 Can Be Accessed in an Emergency: Senator Fischer and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) joined Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to introduce legislation known as Kari’s Law.” The bipartisan bill is named in memory of Kari Hunt, is named for Kari Hunt, who was murdered in her hotel room in 2013 after her 9-year-old daughter desperately tried to call 911 for help. The hotel’s service, like many across the country, required dialing “9” before entering 911 in order for the call to go through. Kari’s Law would require multiline telephone systems, which are commonly used in hotels and offices, to be able to directly dial 911 without an access code, such as “9” or “1.”

  • Advanced the Dialogue on the Internet of Things: Senator Fischer introduced S. 2607, the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, with Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). The DIGIT Act directs the Federal Communications Commission to complete a report assessing spectrum needs required to support wireless technology, often referred to as the Internet of Things. It also convenes a working group of federal and private entity stakeholders. This group would provide recommendations to Congress, focusing on how to plan for, and encourage, the growth of the Internet of Things in the United States.  
  • Brought Senate-passed “Internet of Things” Resolution Senator Fischer joined Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to introduce and then pass a bipartisan Internet of Things Resolution, which offers a strategy to expand U.S. global competitiveness in the digital age. The resolution also promotes economic growth and greater consumer empowerment.
  • Led legislation to allow manufacturers to post their warranties online: Senator Fischer joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to introduce The E-Warranty Act, bipartisan legislation that will modernize warranty requirements and allow manufacturers to save paper and printing costs by posting warranties online. The bill was signed into law on September 24, 2015.
  • Welcomed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai to Omaha: Senator Fischer invited Commissioner Pai to Omaha as part of her ongoing efforts to foster policies and encourage innovation. The two officials held roundtable discussions to discuss the need to make Internet access and broadband deployment a national priority, as well as ways in which the federal government can modernize its rules to unleash high-tech innovation across America. They also heard from Nebraska broadcasters who provide important information across our state regarding the challenges they continue to face.

113th Congress

  • E-LABEL ACT signed into law: In November 2014, President Obama signed into law Senator Fischer’s  Enhance Labeling, Accessing, and Branding of Electronic Licenses Act of 2014  (E-LABEL).  This law eases certain regulatory requirements on manufacturers of products such as phones, computers, and other electronics, by giving them the option to meet the physical label requirement digitally, rather than physically. The passage of this bill makes Senator Fischer one of only two members of her freshman class of seventeen members, to have authored legislation that is now law. 
  • Worked across the aisle to improve access to local television programming: In November 2014, Congress passed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) Act, which includes language championed by senators Fischer and Booker (D-N.J.) to address gaps in access to local TV news and other programming. The language calls for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) study on how Designated Market Areas (DMAs) affect consumers’ access to local broadcast and news programming.
  • Requested congressional action to revamp data security framework: On January 10, 2014, Senator Fischer sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Member Thune requesting congressional action and attention from the committee in regards to revamping the existing data security framework. In December 2013, the popular retailers Target and Neiman Marcus announced that millions of Americans had their private information compromised.
  • Worked to end state and local taxes on Internet access: Senator Fischer cosponsored the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (S. 431), introduced by Senator Ron Wyden.  The bill ends the ability of state and local governments to impose new taxes on Internet access. It also stops them from imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. A permanent extension of the Internet tax Freedom Forever Act became law in February 2016 as part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (H.R. 644).
  • Encouraged investment in rural infrastructure projects: Senator Fischer joined with Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to introduce an amendment to the Senate Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Resolution, S.Res.8, to promote investment in rural broadband infrastructure projects. The Fischer-Franken amendment was adopted unanimously by the Senate.
  • Worked across the aisle to address insufficient broadband access: Senator Fischer introduced a bill (S.774) with Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) to enhance Congress’ oversight over the Federal Communications Commission as it implements universal service reforms.  These reforms will impact both rural and urban Nebraska communities as the federal government seeks to address insufficient broadband access through a major reform to the universal service fund.
  • Led a bipartisan effort to improve call completion problems: On May 23, 2013, Senator Fischer became the lead Republican cosponsor of a resolution underscoring the need to resolve urban and rural call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers. 

  • Original cosponsor of the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act: Senator Fischer cosponsored legislation to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to quickly notify individuals who have had their personal information stolen from the federal health insurance exchange.