Rep. Fred Upton and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in Politico: Innovation is hostage to regulations
Less than a month ago, President Barack Obama announced a governmentwide review of regulations to remove outdated rules that may be hindering the nation's fragile economic recovery and slowing job creation.
While this shift in policy is welcome, on closer inspection, we learned that the executive order doesn't apply to more than 16 independent agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission. This is especially troubling because the FCC is moving forward with unprecedented plans to blanket the Internet with a bevy of new regulations that could stifle innovation and threaten U.S. jobs.
Congress can help our economy by taking concrete steps to boost job creation and strengthen innovation. The first step is pushing back onerous regulations -- like those adopted by the FCC.
Yesterday, after the FCC commissioners responsible for the plan failed to provide sufficient evidence of a crisis that would warrant government intervention, we introduced a Resolution of Disapproval in both the House and the Senate to preserve the openness of the Internet as a platform for innovation and economic growth, as well as to stop the agency from moving forward with its net neutrality regulations.
When it comes to imposing new regulations that will affect the nation's consumers and small businesses, the federal government should look to the medical field for inspiration: primum non nocere, which means first, do no harm.
The Internet has flourished for more than 20 years without burdensome federal regulations. This hands-off approach has allowed it to evolve and meet rapid changes without government roadblocks. This is crucial for America's high-tech industry, which leads our nation in job growth. The U.S. high-tech industry employs more than 5.8 million people, according to recent reports, and accounts for 10 percent of the nation's total private-sector employment. In addition, almost 1 million jobs are supported by U.S. high-tech exports, the nation's largest exporting industry.
The FCC's action is problematic because it imposes new directives on communications companies that are likely to threaten the Internet's spirit of innovation. The regulations are likely to drastically increase the cost of broadband Internet access for everyone. Even more troubling is the fact that the FCC has yet to provide evidence justifying its regulatory overreach.
In fact, the Internet has grown and thrived precisely because it is not weighed down with oppressive government regulations. Most Americans would agree that the Internet works well. It is government that is broken. So why would we layer the government's dysfunction on a dynamic Internet?
It is especially disturbing that this action could occur without congressional authority. The American people repudiated this type of government expansion last November.
It is time to expand the economy without imposing new restrictions on how private companies manage and maintain their investments. The FCC's action makes it a gatekeeper -- by which companies seeking to offer new services must pass. The unmistakable message from the FCC is: Innovate at your own risk.
Countries in Europe and Asia are choosing not to inhibit their broadband networks with such restrictions. The FCC's regulations will shackle America's future broadband growth and make our nation less competitive in the global marketplace.
We must protect the openness of the Internet as an engine for innovation and economic development by keeping it free from excessive regulatory intervention.
The Resolution of Disapproval we introduced in the Senate and House will help ensure U.S. innovation is not held hostage by regulatory overreach.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is the ranking member on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Read the article online HERE.