Former FCC Official to Head Cell-Phone Lobby

Meredith Attwell Baker will leave Comcast for the wireless group CTIA.

FCC Meets To Discuss Net Neutrality Rules By: Chip Somodevilla Getty Images News
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Brendan Sasso
April 23, 2014, 7:53 a.m.

Ve­r­i­zon, AT&T, and the oth­er cell-phone ser­vice pro­viders have a new top lob­by­ist.

Meredith At­twell Baker, a former mem­ber of the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion, will be the new CEO of CTIA-The Wire­less As­so­ci­ation, the group an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Baker, a Re­pub­lic­an, was a tar­get of fierce cri­ti­cism from con­sumer groups when she stepped down from the FCC in 2011 to be­come a lob­by­ist for Com­cast. Al­though top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials of­ten join the in­flu­ence in­dustry, Baker’s move was con­sidered par­tic­u­larly os­ten­ta­tious be­cause she joined Com­cast just four months after vot­ing to ap­prove the cable gi­ant’s pur­chase of NBC-Uni­ver­sal.

Com­cast is now ramp­ing up its lob­by­ing force to get per­mis­sion to buy Time Warner Cable. Los­ing Baker will be a blow, but the com­pany still has an im­press­ive roster of lob­by­ists, in­clud­ing former Sens. Blanche Lin­coln and Don Nickles and former Reps. Robert Walk­er and Ron Klink.

At CTIA, Baker will re­place Steve Lar­gent, a Re­pub­lic­an, former Ok­lahoma con­gress­man, and NFL Hall of Fame wide re­ceiv­er who an­nounced his plan to re­tire last Oc­to­ber.

The ex­plos­ive growth of the wire­less in­dustry over the past dec­ade has helped CTIA be­come one of the most in­flu­en­tial lob­bies in Wash­ing­ton. A top pri­or­ity for the group is to gain ac­cess to more air­waves for the in­dustry. Sur­ging de­mand for wire­less data could lead to con­ges­tion and slower speeds for smart­phones in the com­ing years.

In a state­ment, Baker said she will de­vel­op a five-year plan for fu­ture use of the air­waves, and will put more em­phas­is on tech­nic­al and en­gin­eer­ing ex­pert­ise at the group. 

“I plan to bring new ideas and new ini­ti­at­ives to the as­so­ci­ation that will take it from good to great. We will re­cruit and keep the best and bright­est ex­perts in spec­trum and wire­less com­mu­nic­a­tions,” she said.

Baker will have to bal­ance the com­pet­ing in­terests of her group’s mem­bers. AT&T and Ve­r­i­zon are fre­quently at odds with the in­dustry’s smal­ler play­ers, such as Sprint and T-Mo­bile.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
20 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
23 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login