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VP Takes Lead for Spectrum Bill Signing

The White House was in the spotlight today for public safety communications, as President Obama signed legislation that will allocate spectrum and funding for a nationwide wireless network, and Vice-President Biden met with public safety leaders to discuss a new report on the economic benefits of wireless broadband. After years of lobbying, both houses of Congress approved legislation last week that allocates the D Block to public safety, would provide $7 billion in funding for a wireless network, and set up grand funding for NG911 implementation. This morning Obama signed the tax cut legislation which included the spectrum provisions as a rider. During a 10-minute speech prior to the signing, he did not mention the spectrum provisions, but talked only about the economy and the effects of the tax cut. Standing behind him were ordinary citizens, not public safety officials. In the afternoon, Biden met with law enforcement officials, firefighters and public safety groups in-person and by conference call, and discussed the spectrum and wireless network provisions of the tax legislation. He also briefed them on a new report (pdf) from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) that discusses the positive benefits of wireless broadband for public safety as well as jobs, growth, and investment. According to the White House, the report, “illustrates the economic impact of President Obama’s goal of doubling the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadcast over ten years, while adopting a nationwide inter operable wireless network.” Biden told the public safety officials, “I’ve been working on changing the way we allocate spectrum for a long time, because a smarter system is good for our economy, good for innovation, and vital to keeping our communities as well as our cops, firefighters and EMTs safe.”


President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, discusses the importance of the agreement passed by Congress to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance on Tuesday. The President and Vice President were joined by Americans who have shared their stories on WhiteHouse.gov and Twitter about what $40 a paycheck means to them. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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