WASHINGTONDC, Friday Nov 4th 2011. Seven months after the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 37 which prohibits the FCC from regulating how internet service providers manage their broadband networks, the Senate will take their shot at the Congressional Review Act measure to overturn the Commission’s Open Internet Rules.
Today Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senate Communications Sub Committee Chair sent a letter to the Senate urging them not to support the measure to overturn the FCC’s rules when it comes to a vote at some point next week.
In his opening paragraph Kerry made very clear that “If the order is successful, it will stifle innovation and discourage investment in the next potential Google or Amazon. And it will set the precedent that this Congress is prepared to deny independent regulators their ability to execute law. That would put at risk health and safety rules, environmental protections, worker rights and every other public protection that our agencies enforce that some in Congress do not like.”
Kerry reiterated that argument by all that support the FCC’s rules, citing that the rules are established based on principles that everyone should support; promoting transparency, preventing blocking of legal content and prohibiting discrimination of individuals and websites. He pleaded that, “The rules state that those gateways should not be used to favor some voices over other…The only ‘Mother may I’ restriction is on the question of whether or not telephone and cable ISPs can pick winners and losers on the Internet. The answer is no.”
In his letter the Senator highlighted statistics that show that investment in wired and wireless broadband networks was 10% higher in the first half of 2011 after the adoption of the FCC rules than the previous year.
Kerry noted that Congress created the FCC to regulate communication by wire and radio and the decision of whether the FCC acted outside of their authority should be left to the courts.
Even if this resolution of disapproval does pass the Senate, President Obama will almost certainly veto the measure, leading the debate back into the hands of the DC Circuit.