Internet service providers, of course, say there’s no need for the government to step in, as do other opponents of the FCC.
Freedom Works called the FCC rules “job-killing regulations [that] would involve significant new controls on the Internet that would have significant implications for investing in innovation and broadband deployment.” In urging passage of HJR 37, it posted, “The FCC should respect this fact—and the careful separation of power laid out in the US Constitution—and not make such sweeping law where the legislature has not.” Naturally, anything that conservative organizations and Republicans don’t like, out comes the Constitution.
Another organization, Americans For Prosperity went as far to charge that “Chairman Genachowski, a long-time executive at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, one of the leading corporate beneficiaries of net neutrality, is currently attempting FCC’s second foray into Internet regulations.” The fact is that no FCC commissioner may have a financial interest in any FCC-related business.
Consumers Union opposed the legislation. “Internet providers should not limit your choices to their preferred sites,” said Parul P. Desai, the organizations policy counsel. “Key stakeholders – from consumers, to small business, to civil rights groups and religious organizations – have overwhelmingly voiced support for Open Internet rules as well as the FCC’s authority to implement and enforce them.” Unfortunately, they did not refer to the Constitution in their opposition.
Democratic policymakers called free and open communications “a vital part of American democracy.” At the Free Press’s National Conference for Media Reform, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) said she was pleased by Democratic opposition to the GOP-backed resolution, which cleared the House under the cover of the looming shutdown. “No one should be guarding the gate on the Internet,” Pelosi said. She added that the resolution isn’t likely to gain support in the Senate. “I don’t think this bill is going anyplace.”
As I pointed out in Blogcritics two years ago, there is a difference between a regulation and a law. As an independent regulatory agency, the FCC has the power to impose regulations at any time without action by either the executive or legislative branches. The new regulations, which the FCC calls its Open Internet Order, are the rules that House Republicans attacked.
Their claims against Net Neutrality regulations favor corporations over consumers. Their proposition to “stop the FCC from asserting authority over the Internet that Congress has not granted it” ignores the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which does. Once again House Republicans have backed a losing proposition. Where is the bliss in that ignorance?