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Subcommittee Postpones Vote on Resolution to Reverse Open Internet Order

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WASHINGTON, March 2, 2010 – The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology postponed last-minute a vote scheduled for Wednesday morning on a resolution that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order.

Chairman Fred Upton agreed to postpone the vote in order to complete regular order and a legislative hearing before voting on the resolution. As of Wednesday afternoon, Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) had not yet rescheduled the vote.

The House Joint Resolution, if passed, would reverse the FCC’s controversial Internet regulations. The resolution states that Congress disapproves of the FCC’s intent to preserve the open Internet and broadband industry practices and that such rules will have no force or effect. A seldom-used maneuver, the Resolution of Disapproval requires passage by both the House and Senate, as well as the President.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), ranking rember of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, requested the subcommittee hold a legislative hearing before convening a markup of the bill. Reps. Waxman and Eshoo sent a letter Tuesday to Rep. Upton and subcommittee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), requesting regular order in the subcommittee’s consideration of the resolution.

“I’m pleased the Chairman has agreed to my request for regular order and a hearing,” said Eshoo through a statement released Wednesday. “The open Internet is a vital part of our economy, and millions of jobs have been created along with thousands of new, innovative businesses because of it. Members need to hear from the job-creating businesses that rely on the Internet’s openness, before any vote to eliminate the rules which protect it.”

In their letter, Waxman and Eshoo argue that the economy’s best interest lies in promoting an open Internet order because “common sense baseline rules [are] critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation, and global competitiveness.”

For their part, the Energy and Commerce Republicans welcomed further debate on the matter.

“After hearing directly from the FCC commissioners and in light of a strong House vote to halt these regulations in their tracks, a clear case has been made for advancing the resolution of disapproval,”  said Debbee Keller, Press Secretary for Energy and Commerce Republicans said Wednesday afternoon. “The minority has requested another hearing on these issues, and we welcome the opportunity to shine additional light on the consequences of these regulations for job creators and American innovation.”

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