The House’s Last Minute Net Neutrality Legislation Had ZERO Chance of Passage
This preordained doomed attempt should NOT serve as an impetus for unilateral FCC action
Last week gave us another piece of last minute, hurry-up and pass-it legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman’s bill to regulate the Internet, codify Net Neutrality (NN) and define the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s role therein.
As the recently departed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Or a manufactured one - like the four-plus year slow burn “dire” need for Net Neutrality implementation. Without which the Internet has exploded into a nearly limitless cornucopia of free speech, free markets and free people.
We’ve gone this long – and this incredibly well – without Net Neutrality. We certainly don’t need the FCC ramming it through in an after-the-election November meeting designed from all appearances to thwart and avoid the scrutiny of the American people.
In actuality, this NN bill had ZERO chance of passing. You can’t introduce it out of Committee the Tuesday before the Friday Congress adjourns - and expect it to become law. Anyone who follows these things knows this is folly.
It did accomplish something. Forced again to make a decision inside of six seconds on transcendentally important legislation, the Republicans rightly said No. Ranking Committee member Joe Barton decided they would not, again, be forced aboard another screaming legislative locomotive.
And a gentle reminder – the Democrats are the majority and have the votes, without a single Republican signing on. If they were serious about pushing ahead with the bill, they most certainly could have done so.
After all, ramming through legislation in uni-partisan fashion hasn’t yet bothered the Democrats a whit. ObamaCare, anyone? Alleged economic “stimulus?” Etc, etc, etc. Lather, rinse, repeat.
And Democrat-only legislation is infinitely better than a unilateral Internet power grab by the FCC, for which the author of this bill is now calling.
In response to the Republicans’ absurd decision to want to actually read and discuss the legislation, the pro-Net Neutrality forces in unison screeched:
“We tried a legislative fix - but the intractable Republicans wouldn’t sign on, so now the FCC MUST unilaterally act to reclassify the Internet.”
Republicans scuttle US net neutrality bill-Waxman - Reuters
Waxman's last-minute Net neutrality bill hits a GOP wall - Los Angeles Times
Net Neutrality Bill Stalls Without GOP Support - National Journal
Draft Net Neutrality Bill Axed by GOP - Wireless Week
Net Neutrality Bill Dead After Waxman Fails to Get GOP Support - PC World
Net neutrality bill blocked by Republicans - ZDNet UK
After GOP Kills Net Neutrality Bill, Focus Shifts Back to FCC - Daily Finance
Waxman says net neutrality bill dead, FCC should assert regulatory authority - Washington Post
Waxman Drops Net Neutrality Bill, Calls on FCC to Reclassify Broadband - Firedoglake
Waxman Scraps Net Neutrality Bill, Calls for FCC Action - IT Business Edge
FCC needs to do what Congress couldn't: guarantee net neutrality - Seattle Times
A Clear Message Emerges From the Hill's Net Neutrality Mess: 'The FCC Must Act' - Huffington Post
It's put-up or shut-up time for the FCC's net-neutrality advocates - Washington Post
The time for compromise has passed on net neutrality - Seattle Times
Media Marxist mission accomplished. Leftists never allow facts to get in the way of a good beating.
To the facts - in all of the many, MANY above headlines, did you notice a decided lack of this?
Free Press Pushed Hard Against Waxman's Net Neutrality Bill - Broadcasting & Cable
Sources: OIC not supporting Waxman net-neutrality bill - The Hill
So perhaps it wasn’t solely the Republicans who were opposed to moving forward with the bill.
The defeat-seeking missiles at Free Press – paragons of bipartisan compromise all – led the charge against the bill based upon disliking its content. Long before the Republicans had a chance to say No based upon the lack of time to discuss its content.
As to those calendar constraints:
(Senator) Rockefeller Doubtful On Moving Net Neutrality Bill - National Journal
From the piece:
Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Wednesday that he believes it will be "almost impossible" to move a network neutrality bill through congress this year.
Again, this bill – based upon when it was introduced - was born to die.
The bill did serve one positive – though far less reported upon – purpose. As we said last week:
Net Neutrality Bill Might Be More About Message Than Action - National Journal
This act by Congress reminds us – as we have repeatedly reminded us - that it takes an act of Congress to give the FCC authority over the Internet. And that STILL hasn’t yet happened.
And, again, it isn’t just us reminding us. There are the 299 members of Congress – a large bipartisan majority. There are the more than 150 organizations, state legislators and bloggers. There are theseventeen minority groups – that are almost always in Democrat lockstep.
There are the many additional normally Democrat paragons, including several large unions: AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); several racial grievance groups: League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Minority Media and Telecom Council (MMTC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Urban League; and an anti-free market environmentalist group: the Sierra Club.
And there is the unanimous D.C. Circuit Court – led by a Democrat Bill Clinton-appointee – that have joined the chorus, ruling in April in the Comcast-BitTorrent case that the FCC doesn’t yet have the authority to regulate the Internet.
So while it is distressing that the Chairman of the relevant Committee is ready to cede his and Congress’s proper role in this process – it is not at all compelling.
The FCC should not engage in this unilateral Internet power grab. Especially in the manner it seems to have now set-up to do so – in a dead of winter post-election November meeting.
This belongs – and has always belonged – where it just ever so briefly was – in Congress.