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#SubCommTech to Vote on Bipartisan Legislation to Protect the Future of the Internet

Jun 8, 2015
Walden, Pallone, Shimkus Comment on Bipartisan Breakthrough

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today announced that it will vote Wednesday this week on H.R. 805, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act. The legislation authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) will protect the future of the Internet. Last year, the administration asked the International Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers (ICANN) to convene a multistakeholder group to explore ways to transition oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the Internet community. Currently, the United States oversees the Domain Name System as part of a contract with IANA.

"There are no do-overs - the world has one chance to get this right. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that any plan to transition IANA to the multistakeholder community contains the necessary safeguards to ensure these critical Internet functions do not fall into the wrong hands," said Walden. "This legislation allows, and even encourages, the administration to thoughtfully work through this transition before relinquishing the United States’ important role. Congress has a role to play in its oversight of the NTIA, and this legislation properly balances respect for the multistakeholder process with our role in the U.S. government process."

"We have a bipartisan responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of NTIA and ensure the agency lives up to its commitments for the IANA transition, added full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). "This revised legislation renews our shared commitment to the success of the multistakeholder community and a global, open Internet."

"My position on the IANA transition has always been to ‘trust but verify,’" said Shimkus. "With these changes to the DOTCOM Act, we’ve reached a bipartisan agreement that gives Congress a proper oversight role without unnecessarily delaying or undermining the multistakeholder process. This transition is an important moment for the global Internet. We only have one chance to get it right and, by holding NTIA accountable to their own criteria and requirements, this legislation will help ensure we do."

"Whether spreading the seeds of democracy or connecting with friends through likes and favorites, the Internet is a powerful force for freedom and human connection. With this agreement, our members have again found the common ground necessary to advance smart policy and ensure the appropriate safeguards for the future of the Internet," added full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "I applaud their efforts and look forward to the subcommittee’s vote later this week."

The subcommittee will consider a bipartisan amendment to the DOTCOM Act, that would:

  • Require the administration to submit to Congress a report certifying that the transition plans meet the United States’ objective of global Internet openness;
  • Require NTIA to certify that changes to ICANN’s bylaws that the multistakeholder process has required as conditions of the transition have been implemented;
  • Provide safeguards designed to make ICANN more accountable to the Internet community; and
  • Give Congress 30 legislative days to review NTIA’s report before NTIA is permitted to relinquish its role in IANA.

Markup Details

The subcommittee will convene the markup on Wednesday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building to consider the DOTCOM Act. A background memo, amendments, and votes will be available here as they are posted.

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