Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and members of the House Judiciary Committee today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Tom Wheeler expressing deep concern with the FCC’s approval of net neutrality rules that regulate Internet service providers under Title II of the Communications Act. The members signing the letter also noted that the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the impact of the FCC’s rule change on March 17, 2015. In the letter, the members invited Chairman Wheeler to testify at the upcoming hearing and noted that legislation might be necessary to ensure antitrust laws are the preferred enforcement method against anticompetitive conduct on the Internet.
In addition to Chairman Goodlatte, the letter was signed by Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Dave Trott (R-Mich.), and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.).
Below are excerpts from the letter. To read the entire letter, click here.
“The Commission’s actions today threaten the future viability of the Internet and America’s ability to compete in the global technology marketplace. Today’s rules do not offer an enduring solution, only a partisan headline for a partisan initiative that is destined for years of litigation, generating years of debilitating uncertainty.
“The assertion that these rules will ‘foster innovation and competition’ lacks factual or historical support. Witness testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on this very issue detailed the many instances in which regulation of the kind manifested by Title II and the Commission’s new rules stifled competition, including in the context of both railroad transportation and long-distance telephone networks. Indeed, it was antitrust law, not regulation, which ultimately introduced competition to the long-distance telephone market.
“We are also troubled by the manner in which the ‘Open Internet’ rules were formulated. On November 10, 2014, President Obama urged the FCC to impose Title II regulations on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, you began making statements in support of a Title II approach. Certainly, the timing of your support for Title II following the President’s recommendation calls into question the degree, if not the existence, of the FCC’s independence from the White House.
“We will not stand by idly as the White House, using the FCC, attempts to advance rules that imperil the future of the Internet. We plan to support and urge our colleagues to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution disapproving the “Open Internet” rules. Not only will such a resolution nullify the ‘Open Internet’ rules, the resolution will prevent the FCC from relying on Title II for any future net neutrality rules unless Congress explicitly instructs the FCC to take such action.
“The Committee on the Judiciary will take every action necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a free, competitive marketplace.”