House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday (Feb. 27) the House will act as early as March on a proposal to invalidate the FCC's network neutrality rules. He said the FCC has not been able to give Congress a straight answer to "explain the need for this intrusion."
Those remarks came in a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Sunday at its annual convention in Nashville.
The commission voted Dec. 21 to expand and codify its Internet openness principles on a straight party line vote with strong Republican opposition. Republicans in the House have continued that strong opposition, including defunding the rule change as part of the stop-gap appropriations the House passed two weeks ago.
But Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), with the strong support of Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), has also introduced a resolution of disapproval that would invalidate the rules. It was that effort that Boehner was citing Sunday in his speech.
“At the end of the last Congress, some members of Congress sought a compromise on net neutrality that would give Washington temporary control of the Internet while we sorted this all out," he said. The reference was to a legislative compromise being brokered by then House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). that fell apart after the Republicans refused to sign on.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is no compromise or middle ground when it comes to protecting our most basic freedoms," said Boehner. "Our new majority in the House is committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight a government takeover of the Internet," he said, citing Upton's statement that he would be on the issue like "a dog to a Frisbee," citing Walden's resolution and saying: "I’m pleased to report the House will act on this measure as early as next month.”
It is unlikely to get further than that given the Democratically-controlled Senate and a president who supported the rules change.
Boehner also took aim at the FCC in general: "Right now, freedom and free expression are under attack by a power structure in Washington populated with regulators who have never set foot inside a radio station or a television studio," he said.