Republican Lawmakers Blast FCCs Net Neutrality Rules

Republicans on Capital Hill this week blasted the FCC, vowing to fight the agencys new network neutrality” rules that govern big Internet providers like AT&T and Comcast.

Reps. Fred Upton, R.-Mich., Greg Walden, R.-Ore. and Lee Terry, R.-Neb., said they would attempt to oppose the rules  through the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that allows Congress to review, and through joint resolution, repeal rules that have been adopted by an agency such as the FCC.

We must use every resource available, including the Congressional Review Act, to strike down the FCCs brazen effort to regulate the Internet,” said Upton, who is the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Walden, who soon will be Chairman on of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said the lawmakers plan to examine their legislative options for reversing” the FCCs rules and will hold a series of hearings early next year on the substance, process and claims of authority underlying this proceeding.”

More troubling than the substance of the network neutrality rules are the legal theories underpinning them,” Walden said. If left unchallenged, this power grab will allow the Commission to regulate any interstate wired or wireless communication on barely more than a whim.”

The FCC voted this week to prohibit Internet access service providers from blocking lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices” or unreasonably” discriminating in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumers broadband Internet access service.” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the ruling further prohibits mobile broadband providers from blocking websites or blocking certain competitive applications.”

In a five-page news release issued Tuesday, the FCC asserted it had express authority to enact the rules pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  The FCC also cited titles II, III and VI of the Communications Act for its authority. 

Genachowski and the other two Democratic commissioners, Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, voted to approve the rules. Republican FCC Commissioners Meredith Attwell and Robert McDowell dissented.

The controversial rulemaking proceeding drew input from more than 100,000 individuals and businesses and reflects extraordinary differences of opinion over whether the rules were warranted.

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