WASHINGTON D.C. — On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), said he would not support the current attempt to use the Congressional Review Act to reinstate the previous FCC’s reclassification of broadband service providers under Title II. Instead, Coffman, who opposed the FCC’s rollback of that order, said it was Congress’s job to address net neutrality, and plans to introduce legislation to create a new classification for broadband and bar ISPs from blocking or throttling data.
Since the FCC vote in December, Democrats in both houses have been working to build support for a CRA resolution to reverse the decision. The House version currently has 110 cosponsors, while its Senate counterpart sits at 50. However, President Trump has said he would veto the CRA if it does manage to pass.
“The CRA is simply a distraction from substantive legislation,” said TechFreedom President Berin Szóka. “The Wheeler FCC’s need to effectively rewrite Title II effectively conceded just how poor a fit the 1934 law is for regulating the Internet. But forbearance has always been window dressing: it can be reversed at any time, but more importantly, the FCC didn’t forbear from the core provisions of Title II, which allow the FCC ample room to impose full-blown common carriage regulation, including setting prices and dictating business models. The CRA would lock in Title II forever. Rep. Coffman is right to recognize the need for an approach to broadband precisely tailored to the unique regulatory challenges that broadband Internet presents.”
“This shouldn’t be controversial: both parties have come to the table at one time or another with legislative proposals for enforcing neutrality principles,” concluded Szóka. “The core principles at work here are bipartisan. It’s time for both sides to come together to work out the details and put the Internet on stable, consistent regulatory footing. Absent substantive legislation, the regulatory status of broadband will continue to oscillate wildly depending on which party runs the FCC. That uncertainty will necessarily chill the investment needed to bring broadband to all Americans.”
For further discussion on the future of net neutrality, join us on 2/12 for a panel hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus featuring Szóka and Gigi Sohn, counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Additionally, on episode 215 of the Tech Policy Podcast, Szóka and Sohn discuss the CRA and its prospects for enactment.
- Only Congress, not the FCC can fix net neutrality, Szóka’s Op-Ed in WIRED
- How net-neutrality advocates would let Trump control the Internet, Szóka’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post
- Our statement on the final text of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order
- Szóka’s blog on why the FCC’s order means little practical change for net neutrality
- Tech Policy Podcast #206: The Future of Internet Regulation Feat. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
- Tech Policy Podcast #209: Restoring Internet Freedom? Feat. Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner