Policy

Boehner on Net Neutrality’s Threat

3/07/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

The following is an excerpt from an address delivered by
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to the National Religious
Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 27:


I come here tonight because we are called
together to be doers.

Right now, freedom and free expression are
under attack by a power structure in Washington
populated with regulators who have never
set foot inside a radio station or a television studio.
We see this threat in how the Federal Communications
Commission is creeping further into
the free market by trying to regulate the Internet.

“Network neutrality,” they call it. It’s a series
of regulations that empower the federal bureaucracy
to regulate Internet content and viewpoint
discrimination. The rules are written vaguely, of
course, to allow the FCC free reign.

The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as
Internet traffic controller, and potentially running roughshod
over local broadcasters who have been serving their
communities with free content for decades.

At the end of the last Congress, some members of Congress
sought a compromise on net neutrality that would
give Washington temporary control of the Internet while
we sorted this all out. As far as I’m concerned, there is no
compromise or middle ground when it comes to protecting
our most basic freedoms.

So our new majority in the House is committed to using
every tool at our disposal to fight a government takeover
of the Internet. Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan, the
chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has
pledged, in his words, to be “a dog to the Frisbee
on this issue.” It doesn’t get more dogged
than that. Already, the committee has held
hearings to give FCC regulators a chance to explain
the need for this intrusion. It won’t surprise
you to hear they haven’t been able to give
the American people a straight answer.

Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon, a
former broadcaster himself, has introduced
a congressional resolution of disapproval to
reverse the FCC’s actions. I’m pleased to report
the House will act on this measure as early
as next month.

We’re also going to do what we can to see
that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund these
net neutrality rules. We passed a measure to that effect earlier
this month. … No one should fear the battle of ideas —
it’s the lifeblood of our democracy. When it’s alive and well,
so is our country.

October
November