Scalise-Eshoo Modern Television Act could be a rare bipartisan win

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By Jon Decker

Many would agree that our political climate is more divided than ever before in our lives. One doesn't need to flip far through the channels to see how polarized Americans are on many different issues, and at times it can feel like we can't reach consensus on anything. Thankfully, for those hoping for Congress to accomplish something in a congenial, bipartisan fashion this year that will make a positive change in people's lives – recent legislation introduced by Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has the potential to do exactly that.

The Scalise-Eshoo "Modern Television Act of 2019" would save consumers money and decrease the number of television blackouts Americans face. This legislation repeals onerous cable regulations (dating back almost 30 years ago) that led to all-too-frequent blackouts for consumers attempting to view their desired television programs. Recent analysis shows that 2019 is will be the worst year ever for television blackouts, which serves as a strong call to action in an age of rapidly advancing technology. There has to be a better way to deliver content.

On this issue we find ourselves in unusual right-left agreement with Gigi Sohn, former adviser to Obama FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and our longtime opponent in the net neutrality wars, who said:

 “The Modern Television Act of 2019 will ensure that Americans will no longer have to worry about losing access to marquee TV events like the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Olympics because of retransmission consent battles between broadcasters and subscription TV providers."

It's about time.

Americans across the political spectrum are united by the frustrating experience of being faced with television blackouts.

The unfortunate status quo also inhibits the ability of cable companies to offer more competitive services against online streaming competitors such as Youtube or Roku.

Congress and President Trump should act expeditiously to enact this legislation and unlock lower prices and greater program selection for viewers. Let's hope that politicians will continue to work together in a bipartisan fashion to reduce this small but annoying inconvenience in our lives.