Republican leaders of the House Energy & Commerce
committees said they were not satisfied with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's response to their questions about what economic
analysis led the FCC to expand and codify its Internet openness guidelines Dec.
The chairman had said in a letter to the committee
Monday that there was economic analysis and industry input supporting the FCC's
but Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.),
Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and subommittee
vice chairman Lee Terry were unconvinced, saying Tuesday afternoon that the FCC
had failed to provide adequate analysis or justification. That was the
same conclusion they drew after the Feb. 16 oversight hearing with all
five commissioners over the rules. Genachowski's letter was in
response to follow-up questions after the hearing.
"We share Chairman Genachowski's goal to ensure the
Internet remains open, which is exactly why we oppose the FCC's decision to
impose unprecedented government regulations on a currently thriving and open
Internet," the legislators said in a statement responding
to Genachowski's response. "Over the last several months, the FCC has
failed to provide a compelling justification for its power-grab. The analysis
the FCC points to in its order does little more than summarize the comments of
parties and provide conclusory statements"
In his letter, Genachowski had pointed to various
paragraphs in the order he said indicated economic analysis and expert input.
"The committee will continue to scour the referenced
text for a glimmer of legitimate analysis, but frankly we expect more from an
‘expert' agency," they said. "The truth is imposing these rules will
cause more harm than good by stifling innovation, investments and jobs."
The subcommittee is holding a network neutrality hearing
March 9 on its resolution to invalidate the rules, then plans to vote
on that resolution in a markup session immediately afterwards.
Markups are usually to amend, then vote, on bills, but resolutions of
disapproval do not allow for amendments since they are a fast-track mechanism
for blocking agency decisions.