The new Obama jobs bill addresses the popular, but still not passed, first responders communications network. According to the White House:
"The plan follows the model in the bipartisan legislation from Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison in including an investment to develop and deploy a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety. The plan includes reallocating the D Block for public safety (costing $3 billion) and $7 billion to support the deployment of this network and technological development to tailor the network to meet public safety requirements."
As an added benefit, the plan would raise $28 billion from spectrum auctions, and would "free up public and private spectrum to enable the private sector to deploy high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans, even those living in remote rural and farming communities."
In response, Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) commended the Obama bill for including a public safety broadband network. In his statement, Rockefeller said:
"I am pleased to see that President Obama's jobs plan includes proposals to invest in the wireless economy and provide first responders with the communications tools they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. Investment in this sector can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, help first responders and generate billions of dollars for deficit reduction."
Rockefeller has campaigned tirelessly for a dedicated public safety network. In a September 14, 2011 press release, he again tied together the 9-11 tragedy and the need for better communications. Rockefeller said, "As the 9/11 Commission Report noted, the inability of our first responders to communicate was a critical failure on that fateful day. There is no doubt it contributed to the tragedy and loss of life."