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Upton Comments on Reports of White House Calling Shots on Net Neutrality


WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) responded to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal that chronicles the White House’s meddling in Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s efforts on net neutrality.  “Acting like a parallel version of the FCC itself,” the report reads, the White House ran a process to develop the guidelines for rules that Chairman Wheeler outlined yesterday.

“Tom Wheeler infamously declared to reporters ‘I am an independent agency,’ after the president publicly pushed for heavy regulation of the Internet. Turns out that wasn’t the case then, it’s not the case now, and the White House needs to get its hands off the FCC. The White House’s efforts to drag the Internet into 1930s regulations is a move that puts the FCC on the fast-lane to the federal courthouse,” said Upton. “We have a solution that achieves bipartisan goals to protect an open Internet, satisfying both the president’s and Chairman Wheeler’s previously stated requirements.”

February 4, 2015

How White House Thwarted FCC Chief on Internet Rules
After Secret Meetings, Obama Pushed for Tougher Stance on ‘Net Neutrality’

WASHINGTON — In November, the White House’s top economic adviser dropped by the Federal Communications Commission with a heads-up for the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. President Barack Obama was ready to unveil his vision for regulating high-speed Internet traffic.

The specifics came four days later in an announcement that blindsided officials at the FCC. Mr. Obama said the Internet should be overseen as a public utility, with the “strongest possible rules” forcing broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to treat all Internet traffic equally.

The president’s words swept aside more than a decade of light-touch regulation of the Internet and months of work by Mr. Wheeler toward a compromise. On Wednesday, Mr. Wheeler lined up behind Mr. Obama, announcing proposed rules to ensure that the Internet “remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans,” according to an op-ed by Mr. Wheeler in Wired.

The prod from Mr. Obama came after an unusual, secretive effort inside the White House, led by two aides who built a case for the principle known as “net neutrality” through dozens of meetings with online activists, Web startups and traditional telecommunications companies.

Acting like a parallel version of the FCC itself, R. David Edelman and Tom Power listened as Etsy Inc., Kickstarter Inc., Yahoo Inc. ’s Tumblr and other companies insisted that utility-like rules were needed to help small companies and entrepreneurs compete online, people involved in the process say. …

After Republicans gained their Senate majority, Mr. Obama took a number of actions to go around Congress, including a unilateral move to ease immigration rules. Senior aides also began looking for issues that would help define the president’s legacy. Net neutrality seemed like a good fit. …

Read the full article online HERE.


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