NEWS: Media Outlets Report on Communications and Technology Subcommittee Efforts to Fight Government Takeover of the Internet

February 16, 2011

NATIONAL JOURNAL: GOP offer resolution to try to block net neutrality rules

As promised, Republicans in both the House and Senate introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at blocking the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules.

In the House, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., offered a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers a limited amount of time to try to block agency rules like the FCC's net neutrality order from going into effect. An identical measure was introduced in the Senate by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Commerce ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

The resolutions were introduced on the same day that all five FCC members appeared before Walden's subcommittee to defend their party-line vote in December approving the rules, which are aimed at barring broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content, applications or services.

POLITICO: GOP seeks to cut net rules
Top congressional Republicans formally began their campaign Wednesday to overturn the FCC's new rules requiring Internet providers treat all Web traffic equally.

Forty GOP senators, led by Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), filed a resolution that seeks to shoot down the FCC's net neutrality order, which the agency cleared on a strict party-line vote last year.

Top House members also offered a similar effort spearheaded by Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) -- the chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the telecom subcommittee, respectively --just hours after Walden's panel grilled all five agency commissioners on the rules.

BROADCASTING & CABLE: Republicans Launch Net Neutrality Blocking Effort
Republican House leaders had scarcely brought the gavel down on an FCC oversight hearing when they announced they had formally introduced a measure to block the FCC's network neutrality rules.
Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) announced the Resolution of Disapproval's introduction only about an hour and a half after the hearing concluded. "We held a hearing today in which we gave the commissioners of the FCC one more opportunity to provide sufficient evidence of a crisis that warrants government intervention," he said. "They failed."

Among those backing the move are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.), Senate Commerce Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) as well as Upton and Communications Subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

THE HILL: Rep. Mike Rogers -- Stop government from regulating the Internet
Washington has taken over the banks, health care, the college loan industry and now it is targeting the Internet.

The private sector has invested $700 billion into developing the Internet as we know it today. Private companies have transformed it from a dial-up phone technology into an instrument that can share information in real time throughout the world, with no wires attached.

The development of the Internet has been one of the greatest success stories in recent history -- accounting for one-sixth of the U.S. economy -- because it has been allowed to grow without taxes and Washington regulations. Access to information has exploded, prices continue to plummet and new innovations continue to evolve exponentially.

WASHINGTON POST: FCC defends net neutrality to lawmakers, says Level 3-Comcast not covered by rules

The hearing was called by new Republican leadership in the House, which has conducted several hearings on regulations for health care, energy and education that the party believes are overbearing.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) warned that the FCC's net neutrality rule would only lead to more regulation.

"If left unchallenged, this claim of authority would allow the FCC to regulate any matter it discussed in the national broadband plan," Walden said. "Recall that the FCC concluded that consumers' concerns over privacy are deterring broadband. Does that mean the FCC can regulate Internet privacy?"

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: New Flare-Up in Capitol Over 'Net Neutrality'

Republicans are targeting the new Internet rules, which would bar Internet providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic and services, as one of many new regulations, including for health care and the environment, which they say are unnecessary and overly burdensome on industry.

"Why would you put the government in charge of the Internet?" said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee…

Republican lawmakers are trying to stop the new-neutrality rules though various legislative avenues, including an amendment to budget legislation to stop funding to the FCC to implement the new rules…

GOP lawmakers and Republican FCC members say the rules could stifle new investments in broadband networks by limiting providers' ability to manage and profit from their networks. In addition, they question whether the FCC has legal authority to enforce the new rules--an issue the courts will ultimately decide.

THE HILL: Genachowski suggests Supreme Court could strike down anti-net neutrality decision

Republicans on the panel felt strongly that the FCC had exceeded its authority.

"You ought to be real sure you have the authority … or if you're even questioning the authority, you should come to the people's house," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said if the rules are not challenged, "this claim of authority would allow the FCC to regulate any matter it discussed in the national broadband plan."

The Republican FCC commissioners also panned the legal basis for the rules. Commissioner Robert McDowell said the reasoning would suggest "no limit to the authority" of the FCC.

POLITICO: GOP blasts FCC on net neutrality

Republicans took the FCC to task for enacting a net neutrality order without any sound market-based analysis to justify it at a House hearing Wednesday.

"The FCC has done nothing to specifically quantify any harm requiring intervention, or the potential harm to consumers, innovation or the economy from the proposed rules," Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said during his opening remarks.

Several other key Republicans hammered on the same point.

"The FCC even confesses in its order that it has done no market analysis," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the communications subcommittee. "It just selectively applied the rules to broadband providers, shielding Web companies.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES: FCC chairman faces heat from House Republicans

Rep. Greg Walden, the Oregon Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, which oversees communications policy, has called the FCC action adopted late last year a regulatory overreach.

Mr. Walden, who has called for denying the funds to implement the FCC‘s new regulations, said that, "in essence, the FCC argues it can regulate anything," he said.

"I am relieved, however, that the FCC declined under its newfound authority to regulate coffee shops, bookstores, airlines and other entities," he noted sarcastically…

Critics, including many congressional Republicans, argue that the new regulations are an attempt to fix an industry that isn't broken, and they contend the FCC action is a bureaucratic power grab

HUMAN EVENTS: Authority Bounded Only By Imagination

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology convened hearings today on the FCC's "Net Neutrality" power grab, with all five FCC commissioners scheduled to testify.... In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden said "it's important to realize that the FCC's underlying theory of authority would allow the commission to regulate any interstate communication service on barely more than a whim and without any additional input from Congress… Under the FCC's rationale its authority is bounded only by its imagination."

Walden has put his finger on one of the greatest flaws in the theory of activist government.... It's the same conceptual taffy pull that has stretched the Commerce Clause into a mandate for unlimited power.... If the FCC has an absolute mandate to "encourage broadband deployment," and it can do anything it sees fit to advance that goal, where are the limits to its authority?

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