DeMint Introduces Bill Limiting FCC Regulatory Authority

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has introduced a bill that would block Title II reclassification and expanded and codified network neutrality guidelines, or at least delay them.

That bill is primarily a shot across the bow given that, at least so far, its backers are all in the minority.

He was joined by co-sponsors (all Republicans) Orrin Hatch (Utah), John Ensign (Nev.), John Thune (S.D.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornwyn (Texas) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.) in introducing the bill Wednesday, confirming a report in Multichannel News July 20.

The bill would require that the Federal Communications Commission prove consumers have a lack of choice that is doing them substantial harm before it can impose any new regs as well as weigh the consumers' costs vs. benefits.

"President Obama's handpicked FCC chairman is attempting to impose unnecessary, antiquated regulations on the Internet in spite of court rulings limiting the FCC's authority, against bipartisan congressional concern over damaging economic consequences, and without any evidence of market failure," said DeMint, referring to agency head Julius Genachowski's proposal to reclassify broadband access under some Title II common carrier regs to clarify its broadband authority in the wake of the BitTorrent court ruling.

The bill would also impose a marketplace test for all FCC regulations and effectively limit its power by providing timelines for FCC regulatory decisions and sun-setting any regs after five years, "unless the FCC chooses to renew them under the market-based standard."

"Since the FCC has a hard time listening to the American people, we're stepping forward with commonsense legislation to keep these unelected bureaucrats' hands off the Internet," said Hatch. "This bill is simple - the FCC would have to demonstrate that consumers won't be harmed if these dangerous and costly 'net-neutrality' regulations are put into place."

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