Republican leaders expressed opposition to President Obama’s call Monday for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose tighter regulations on broadband Internet.
House Speaker John Boehner said:
It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obama administration continues to disregard the people’s will and push for more mandates on our economy. An open, vibrant Internet is essential to a growing economy, and net neutrality is a textbook example of the kind of Washington regulations that destroy innovation and entrepreneurship.
House GOP leaders in May dispatched a letter to FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler seeking to stop consideration of net neutrality regulations.
“Federal bureaucrats should not be in the business of regulating the Internet–not now, not ever,” the speaker added Monday. “In the new Congress, Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme to regulate the Internet, and we’ll work to encourage private-sector job creation, starting with many of the House-passed jobs bills that the outgoing Senate majority ignored.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also called on the FCC to reject Obama’s call for more regulation.
“The growth of the Internet and the rapid adoption of mobile technology have been great American success stories, made possible by a light regulatory touch,” he said. “This approach has freed innovators to develop and sell the products people want–and create jobs in the process–without waiting around for government permission.
“The President’s decision today to abandon this successful approach in favor of more heavy-handed regulation that will stifle innovation and concentrate more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats is a terrible idea,” McConnell added.
Senate Republican leaders also sent a letter in May to Wheeler relaying their problems with net neutrality regulations. McConnell, Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), Conference Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Policy Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) wrote at the time:
The courts have twice struck down ill-advised and unauthorized attempts by the FCC to regulate the Internet. Unfortunately, you have chosen to have the FCC again undertake a politically corrosive rulemaking, relying upon new and untested court-defined powers rather than upon clear [c]ongressional intent and statutory authority.
“Of even greater concern would be using Title II of the Communications Act to regulate broadband, which some voices have called for in recent days,” they added. “So-called ‘net neutrality’ restrictions are unnecessary, but using Title II reclassification to impose them would create tremendous legal and marketplace uncertainty and would undermine your ability to effectively lead the FCC.”