Rep. Greg Walden to FCC on government control of the Internet: Not so fast

by John in Oregon

Last December under cover of the approaching holidays and the spectacle of the lame duck congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defied a federal court and enacted an Internet regulatory takeover.  The rule, with the deceptive name of Net Neutrality, injects U.S. government regulation and control into the operation of Internet for the first time.

The FCC may have been blinded by the conventional wisdom that Americans would be too busy with Christmas shopping and the legacy media too distracted with lame duck news to notice.  Conventional wisdom bet wrong.  The House of Representatives has begun the process to block the FCC Net Regulation rule.  Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee is preparing a resolution to nullify the FCC rule.

As reported in the Washington Times, speaking of the threat last Sunday House Speaker Boehner said;

“We see this threat in how the FCC is creeping further into the free market by trying to regulate the Internet”

“The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller”

In other media reports, Oregon Representative Greg Walden is moving forward to block the regulation;

The Speaker’s view seems to be shared by Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). That panel is set to vote tomorrow [Wednesday] on a “resolution of disapproval” of the FCC’s regulations

A copy of the Resolution of Disapproval may be found here. As background, a Resolution of Disapproval using the Congressional Review Act receives expedited treatment in the Senate.  The resolution overturning the FCC network-neutrality order cannot be blocked by Majority Leader Reed in the Senate and just 30 senators can force a floor vote that would require just 51 votes to pass.

Overturning the FCC take over would require just four Democratic senators to join Republicans.  In any case the vote would force all Senators to take a public position on Government control of the Internet, a subject prominently in the news in Egypt, Tunisia and China.

The FCC action is part of a growing trend of Administration Executive Agencies ignoring court rulings.  A federal appeals court ruled on April 6, 2011 that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the legal authority to enforce its “network neutrality” principles.  Legal action continues in a January 20 case filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s Report and Order.

In other legal actions last June Federal Judge Martin Feldman dealt the White House a blow, striking down a moratorium on deepwater drilling.

Last Feburary 3rd Bloomberg reported Judge Feldman ruled Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar’s department in contempt of court.

The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.

Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

More recently Judge Feldman has ordered the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to act on five pending permits within 30 days, and to report on its progress to the court.

Rep. Walden’s resolution of disapproval of the FCC ruling is the first Congressional action to rein in bureaucratic overreach during the current Administration.

 

UPDATE. The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has reschedule a vote on a resolution to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial Internet regulations.  The new time of the vote will be announced.

 

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  • Joenan

    More,more, and more.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Net Neutrality is the biggest scam going. Look, if your internet provider is throttling or disallowing content, switch providers. There is no need for the government to step in and force every provider to carry everything. That’s a recipe for stifling innovation as archaic technology is now put on even footing with new technology.

    This whole thing is about government taking control of the internet, not protecting the consumer. If you don’t believe that then ask yourself – if this is about assuring ISP’s don’t throttle content they don’t like, then why is the iPhone still around?

    That’s right, the iPhone is the chief violator of net neutrality because not only does it disallow content, but Steve Jobs himself has announced it will never carry certain content. What content is this Jobs has such a thing about? Competing software. Apple makes Quicktime, a proprietary video format. Adobe makes something called Flash. Flash is superior, and is the format approximately 70% of video content is delivered in. In addition, Flash allows interaction, Quicktime does not. Apples Quicktime has never taken off very much and certainly not to the extent Flash has. Entire websites can, and are, done in Flash. Not so with Quicktime.

    So where is the FCC bringing the hammer down on Steve Jobs?

    Answer, nowhere.

    And why do you think that is?

    That’s right, because it is not about Net Neutrality at all. Its about government being able to decide who it likes and who it doesn’t. Jobs is a big Democrat contributor. His iPhone effectively bans large swaths of the internet. And the government will do nothing, that is unless he starts switching who he gives money to.

    • David Appell

      I am always amazed at how readily people worried about control by government are so willing to give it to large corporations instead.

    • Wow Rupert, your ignorance is astonishing. Why are you comparing Apple Apps to the entire internet? Probably some BS Glen Beck put in your head. Net Neutrality is a great thing, it requires the FCC to REGULATE the companies such as Verizon, Comcast, etc from charging us more for different websites. In other words, without Net Neutrality there will be no more “mom and pop” websites started by everyday folks like you and me. The internet will begin to do what Walmart and Homedepot did to all those small businesses back in the day and these huge companies will be the only ones able to AFFORD the bandwidth to have a world wide website. So YES, the FCC should be allowed to regulate these COMPANIES, not US. Do you understand the difference? The FCC wants to regulate the companies, the companies want to regulate us. Who’s side are you on again?? WAKE UP MAN, do a little research of your own and stop listening to cable tv.

      Learn something useful at http://www.corporationday.org
      As Thomas Jefferson once said, “the currency of democracy is information”

  • Bob Clark

    The FCC is a bureaucracy in search of relevance under the Bama administration. The communication industry was once monopolistic with AT&T domination, but today’s communication market is fiercely competitive with alternative modes of delivery. A big downside of Net Neutrality is it probably slows the rate of investment in new broadband capacity by industry, just what you shouldn’t be doing if you say you are concerned about the rationing of broadband streaming as the FCC says it is.

    So, Bravo, House GOP and Oregon’s only great Congressman that being Greg Walden.

  • Larry Sparks

    Since 3 member of the FCC voted for this rule, how can the House of Representatives force them off the Board?

  • BiteItLibs

    The FCC is one of those “Legacy” government agencies that has become almost irrelevent until they came up with the “Net Neutrality” nonsense. In an age when there are hundreds of net providers, net neutrality has no real place except in bureaucrats minds.