TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary bid in a shocking upset, likely dooming any chance for immigration reform legislation. The FCC is thinking about nullifying a Tennessee state law that limits the deployment of municipal broadband. BP gets to fly the first FAA-approved commercial drone. The head of the FCC's media bureau will defend the agency's media rules during a House hearing at 10:30 a.m.
CANTOR GOES DOWN: The majority leader's stunning loss to a little-known college professor looks like the nail in the coffin for immigration legislation. Dave Brat had repeatedly attacked Cantor for allegedly supporting "amnesty." The fact that Cantor, one of the most outspoken opponents of the Obama administration, could lose a primary over immigration means that few other Republicans will want to go anywhere near the issue for the foreseeable future.
It's bad news for tech companies, who have been lobbying for looser rules on hiring skilled foreign workers. Just yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg's group, FWD.us, launched two new ads on cable TV to push for reform.
The loss could have ripple effects beyond immigration legislation (which was already a longshot). Will Republican leaders be willing to compromise on any major issue if it could cost them their jobs? Who will take Cantor's place? Aides described the mood as "chaos for the leadership ranks."
Silicon Valley might take some comfort in the fact that Brat also attacked Cantor for supporting NSA spying.
FCC FROWNS AT TENNESSEE BROADBAND LAW: The FCC may nullify a Tennessee law that restricts the abilities of cities to build their own high-speed Internet networks. In a blog post Tuesday, Chairman Tom Wheeler said that Chattanooga's municipal broadband network is good for competition and economic growth, and because of that, "it is in the best interests of consumers and competition that the FCC exercises its power to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband."
But if the FCC pursues this route, the agency will face resistance from Republican lawmakers. Eleven GOP Senators already sent Wheeler a letter last week warning him not to "usurp" state power. (Sasso, NJ)
HOUSE TO EXAMINE MEDIA RULES: Bill Lake, the head of the FCC's Media Bureau, will face some unhappy Republicans at a hearing on media ownership regulations today before the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
Republicans are angry that the FCC moved ahead with tighter limits on TV station coordination despite never finishing the 2010 review of its rules. They want the FCC to loosen the regulations, which they say are badly outdated, considering how much news is now online.
In his opening testimony, Lake will argue that traditional outlets still have a "vital role" and that the ownership limits are still necessary. He will say the FCC's failure to complete the 2010 review on time "was not due to a lack of effort," and that the agency now plans to finish its reviews by June 30, 2016.
BROADCASTERS RELIEVED BY SENATE STELA BILL: Broadcast TV lobbyists are breathing a bit easier after the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a "clean" reauthorization of the satellite TV law STELA. Cable lobbyists want to include provisions to limit broadcasters' negotiating power in retransmission fights.
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Ashley, Senior Media Associate
In a statement, the National Association of Broadcasters applauded lawmakers for proposing a reauthorization bill that doesn't undermine access to broadcast TV. The American Television Alliance, a cable group, said the retransmission system is "more broken than ever" and that the group will continue to push for more "meaningful" reform. The House Judiciary and Senate Commerce Committees have yet to weigh in with their versions of the bill.
DEMOCRATS DEMAND MERGER HEARING: Senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling for a hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers. In a letter Tuesday to Chairmen Fred Upton and Greg Walden, Reps. Henry Waxman, Anna Eshoo, and Doris Matsui said the mergers, along with the tentative Sprint-T-Mobile deal, would have a "lasting impact" on the telecommunications landscape. The committee has a responsibility to vet the mergers to ensure they are in the public interest, the Democrats said.
EU TO PROBE APPLE'S TAX AFFAIRS: The EU will launch a formal investigation of Apple's deals in Ireland today. (Reuters)
BROADCAST GROUP CALLS FOR PROBE OF CABLE PRICES: TVFreedom is asking Congress to investigate the billing practices of cable and satellite companies.
FAA GIVES THE GREEN LIGHT FOR FIRST COMMERCIAL DRONE: Yesterday, the FAA approved a drone for BP that will fly over Alaska to check pipelines and other infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas like the North Slope.
TAXI DRIVERS ACROSS EUROPE PROTEST UBER: Taxi drivers in London, Berlin, France, and Madrid are demonstrating against Uber today. (Lisa FLeisher, WSJ)
JUDGE RULES SEARCHABLE BOOKS ARE 'FAIR USE': A federal judge ruled that Google's full-text searchable book databases are 'fair use' because they are a "quintessentially transformative use" of the copyrighted material. (Larry Neumeister, AP)
SEC OFFICIAL CALLS FOR MORE CYBER-ATTACK TRANSPARENCY: "I would encourage companies to go beyond the impact on the company and to also consider the impact on others," a top SEC official said Tuesday. (Sarah Lynch, Reuters)
GOOGLE BUYS SATELLITE IMAGING COMPANY: Google is muscling up its satellite imaging capabilities, but the acquisition could help with their mission to deliver Internet from the sky. (MacMillan/Winkler/Barr, WSJ)
MICROSOFT PROTESTS ORDER FOR FOREIGN DATA: The company is refusing to give prosecutors emails stored in a data center in Ireland. (Steve Lohr, NYT)
THAT'S A LOT OF CAT VIDEOS: Video traffic will double within the next five years to make up 84 percent of Internet traffic, according to a new report from Cisco. (Amy Schatz, Re/Code)
THE DAY AHEAD:
- The House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on media ownership rules at 10:30 a.m.
- The House Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the FBI at 10 a.m.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security with Secretary Jeh Johnson at 10 a.m.
- Rep. Darrell Issa and FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will speak at the 2014 Cloud Computing Policy Conference beginning at 9:15 a.m.
- U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park will discuss the "Internet of Things" at a NISTconference that begins at 10 a.m.
- The CIA will host its first public conference at Georgetown University with speeches from FBI Director Robert Mueller and Rep. Mike Rogers.
- AT&T's Jim Cicconi, Netflix's Chris Libertelli, Tim Wu, and Blair Levin will participate in a panel discussion on net neutrality hosted by the Aspen Institute at 2 p.m.
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I read the Tech Edge every morning."
Ashley, Senior Media Associate