Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Wednesday filed her Internet Freedom Act as her
first order of business in the new, Republican-controlled House of
The bill, which has
more than 60 co-signers including the majority of Republican members of the
House, would invalidate the FCC's network neutrality regs, which a 3-2
Democratic majority approved Dec. 21 in the face of promises by Blackburn and
others that they would try to block it legislatively.
Christmas week Internet grab points out how important it is that we pass this
bill quickly," she said in announcing the bill. "The only sector of our
economy showing growth is online. In these times, for an unelected bureaucracy
with dubious jurisdiction and misplaced motives to unilaterally regulate that
growth is intolerable. The Internet is more than a communications platform with
modems, fiber, and e-mail. It is a marketplace; one that should be kept
that getting such a bill through Congress will take time. She called it an
intermediate step, and backed the more immediate move of invoking the
Congressional Review Act.
The FCC regs
are not yet in effect, and won't be for at least a couple more months since the
FCC has set a trigger of 60 days after the rules get the OK from OMB that they
do not run afoul of the Paperwork Reduction Act, which has yet to happen.
long-standing and strong critic of net neutrality regs, filed a similar bill
not long after the FCC voted last October to launch the rulemaking to expand
and codify its network neutrality guidelines.
Last month, she
joined with incoming House Energy & Commerce Committee leadership to pledge
to fight the net neutrality rules by whatever means necessary.
Blackburn, who has
compared the FCC to a lifeblood-sucking vampire at the throat of the Internet,
said at the time she would be reintroducing her bill, which came on the first
day of the new Congress.
At the December
press conference, the Republican leaders said they would explore at least three
ways to block implementation of the order: legislation (Blackburn's, for
example), defunding the FCC appropriation, or a special congressional
resolution that would nullify the rules. "We are going to explore every
option to try and reverse this order," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) now
the chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee. "This
will be the first hearing out of the box," in the next Congress, he said,
with a series of hearings to follow over the next several weeks. "There is
going to be no stone unturned."