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Legislation to pave the way for additional federal spectrum auctions later this year moved closer to passage Tuesday after the House approved the measure known as RAY BAUM's Act.

The bill, named in honor of the former staff director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reauthorizes the Federal Communications Commission and includes a number of provisions from Senate legislation designed to make additional spectrum available.

Crucially, the measure also allows the FCC to deposit upfront payments from bidders in spectrum auctions with the U.S. Treasury — a technical fix that, if passed, will allow planned auctions in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands to move forward later this year.

"This bipartisan, bicameral product puts consumers first and solidifies the nation's critical telecommunications infrastructure, giving the U.S. a global edge in the race to 5G and improving internet services across the country," the authors of the bill — Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. — said in a joint statement.

The bill now moves to the Senate, which unanimously passed the MOBILE NOW Act spectrum legislation last summer.

"The inclusion of MOBILE NOW and the auction deposits provisions will ensure the FCC has the necessary authority to hold spectrum auctions in 2018, which is vital to the U.S. winning the global race to 5G," said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. "We are hopeful that this same bipartisan approach will deliver the spectrum pipeline and infrastructure reform we will need to lead the world in wireless."

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