The Senate is the Next Battlefield in the Campaign to Undo the FCC’s Net Neutrality Power Grab
There has been a bit of a lull in the push to undo the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s obnoxious December 21st Internet takeover – executed so that they could then impose Network Neutrality.
This stillness is understandable, given the avenues that need to be traveled to reverse this autocratic absurdity. Going through Congress and the courts takes some time, and will result in some pauses along the way.
But the efforts to reverse the FCC’s terrible move do continue unabated, if intermittently.
The biggest impediment to reversing the FCC remains – the FCC. And that’s intentional.
As we have previously noted, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has now waited more than three months – and counting – to file his Net Neutrality order with the federal registry.
So as to better hinder the lawsuits and legislation seeking to undo it.
The longer the Chairman drags his feet on this Oh-So-Vitally-and-Imminently-Important Net Neutrality order, the less likely it becomes that the D.C. Circuit will be able to hear the case(s).
So by stalling, the Chairman is callously venue shopping – and ducking a court in which he knows he will most likely lose.
Thus far, there are two litigants (Verizon and Metro PCS) languishing – awaiting the long overdue action of Chairman Genachowski. More would perhaps have already filed – but they are probably also waiting on the Chairman.
While these multiple litigations sit in Chairman-consigned limbo, the Congressional moves to undo press forward.
An impediment to the 112th Congress stopping Net Neutrality is the fact that the 111th Congress failed to write a Fiscal Year 2011 budget – so the new Republican House majority has been sidetracked with their mops, cleaning up their predecessors’ mess.
But the House GOP used this opportunity to try to block Net Neutrality. House Resolution (HR) 1 – their Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year – forbade the FCC from spending any money on imposing Net Neutrality.
Sec. 4006. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the Report and Order of the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices (FCC 10-201, adopted by the Commission on December 21, 2010).
HR 1 passed the House – but languishes in Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate. We have been in repeated short-term CR limbo ever since.
Then there is the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Which is a way for Congress to rein in rogue agencies – as which the FCC certainly now qualifies – and undo what they have done.
The CRA Disapproval Resolution has been filed in both the House (House Joint Resolution 37) and the Senate (Senate Joint Resolution 6). The Senate version cannot be filibustered - but both houses must pass it within sixty days.
Sixty days from what remains a bit of a mystery. Many think the clock starts when Chairman Genachowski files the Net Neutrality order – which as we’ve said he has not yet done.
But does anyone doubt that some Congressional Democrats would ignore their FCC Chairman dragging his feet - and try to then argue that the CRA effort is invalidated by the process taking too long?
Best not to take chances – and vote swiftly.
We have been told the House plans to do so on their CRA before the April 18th Easter break. The sooner the better - so as to allow the Senate to do the same.
And thus the battlefield becomes the upper chamber.
Only 51 Senate votes are needed for its passage – again, it’s unfilibusterable. There are but 47 Republicans – so 4 Democrat votes are needed.
23 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in 2012. Several have announced they are not again running – the rest are.
And many of them represent swing - and in some cases solidly Republican – states.
After an historic 2010 election in which the American people demonstrably and overwhelmingly voted for smaller, more accountable government – of which the FCC Internet power grab is in direct violation – pressure must be put on these Democrat Senators regarding the Net Neutrality CR.
Will they vote with their Party – or their constituents? They must be forced to choose – so that We the People may properly choose our Senators in 2012.
And so we might protect ourselves and our Internet from an autocratic, overreaching FCC.