Upton: Pair Of Dems Join FCC-Blocking Effort


House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich) said Monday that at least two Democrats have joined the Republican-backed effort (H. J. Res 37) to block the FCC's network neutrality rules, and Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is angling for more.

Walden had said in an interview with C-SPAN that there was Democratic backing for blocking the FCC, and not just the Title II version that had initially concerned many Democrats. The bill had 50 Republican co-sponsors when it was approved in subcommittee last week.

In a release on a "dear colleague" letter being circulated by Walden Monday, Upton pointed out that Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Dan Boren (D-Ok.) had joined Upton, Walden and Communications Subcommittee Vice Chair Lee Terry (R-Neb.) in asking other Dems and Republicans to back the resolution of disapproval being marked up March 15 (opening statements on the resolution are today (March 14).

The Dems signed onto a letter that called the regs "unnecessary and job-destroying rules to regulate the Internet."

The letter highlights opposition to the new rules from Amy Tykeson, CEO of BendBroadband and a member of the National Cable & Telecommunications board. NCTA has come out in favor of the compromise regs it helped hammer out in negotiations with other stakeholders and the FCC. But Tykeson in a letter to Walden he read during the hearing on the resolution last week, she said that the FCC rules were picking winners and losers, something Walden has also been saying, and that they would "cost jobs, stall innovation and dampen investment."

The resolution almost certainly will not secure Senate approval, but Walden says the issue still needs to be spotlighted, saying the public continues to be interested in it. Separately, Republican House members tried to block funding for the rules in the six-month continuing resolution (CR) that passed in the House several weeks ago but was defeated in the Senate last week.

Walden and Upton have also said they could hold hearings or conduct investigations of the FCC's process as other ways to keep a spotlight on the rules, which in any event won't go into effect until midsummer at the earliest.