House Republicans Tell FCC: No Net Neutrality For Christmas

by
November 20, 2010

By Amy Schatz, The Wall Street Journal

Rumors that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will try to get approval for new net neutrality rules before Christmas put some House Republicans in a Grinchy mood Friday.

“Rather than poison the well before the new Congress is sworn in, I urge the FCC to stand down on any movement toward net neutrality and work together with the new majority when the 112th Congress convenes in January,” Rep. Fred Upton (R, MI) said Friday. Mr. Upton is vying to lead the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The committee plans to increase its scrutiny of the FCC and “Chairman Genachowski will soon be a familiar face on Capitol Hill,” Mr. Upton said.

Another contender to lead the House Commerce Committee – Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida – released a statement saying a rumored pre-Thanksgiving Day announcement suggests that the FCC is “is trying to slip it under the radar and hope no one notices.”

Mr. Upton and Mr. Stearns joined their two Republican colleagues vying for the House Energy and Commerce Chairman’s seat – Rep. Joe Barton of Texas and Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois — late Friday in a letter from 19 House Republicans warning Mr. Genachowski that taking up net neutrality now would be “a mistake.”

“Approximately 300 members in the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle have indicated that the questions raised in the net neutrality rulemaking are better left to Congress,” they wrote.

An FCC spokeswoman said the agency won’t announce its plans until Thanksgiving Eve. However, people close to the issue say Mr. Genachowski is considering finalizing new net neutrality rules next month that would prohibit Internet providers from deliberately blocking or slowing traffic. Washington lobbyists are buzzing that long-awaited net neutrality rules could be put to a vote in December.

Mr. Genachowski hasn’t publicly announced what issues the agency will take up at its mid-December meeting.

To read more, visit: House Republicans Tell FCC: No Net Neutrality For Christmas

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