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WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) delivered the following remarks at a press conference where House Republican Leaders blasted the Democrats’ plan to take over the internet with heavy-handed regulation. Three Republican leaders from Energy and Commerce, Reps. Walden, Bob Latta (R-OH), and Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) offered a menu of options, bipartisan legislation that focus on the three bright lines – blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. This approach maintains a free and open internet without giving the federal government near unlimited and unchecked authority.
Remarks as Delivered
This is a government takeover of the internet, like we’ve seen once before and for less than two years during the last Administration. This is a long way from what was titled ‘Save the Internet,’ because Democrats wants to give the federal government near unlimited and unchecked authority to regulate the Internet.
The “Save the Internet Act” would regulate the internet as if it were a monopoly utility under Title II of the Communications Act, which was originally used to govern monopolies back in the 1930s.
The public deserves to fully understand the implications of this legislation, so Republicans have been asking a lot of questions and offering up a lot of amendments. For example:
Will this bill provide the authority for a government takeover and management of private networks or where and when new broadband networks can, or must, be deployed? The answer is yes.
Will this bill allow government taxation of the internet? The answer is yes. We think it will.
Will this legislation limit the full potential of 5G and stifle the next wave of innovation in internet services? We believe it will.
The answer to each of these questions is regrettably; YES.
Sadly, it does not have to be this way. We largely agree on the key parameters that protect a free and open internet. We are for that as Republicans. We offered amendments to close the doors to these regulatory powers that are completely unrelated to net neutrality. They were all rejected on a party-line vote.
We have put forth serious proposals – a menu of options – as a starting point for true bipartisan on net neutrality protections for consumers that could become law. This bill will not get to the President’s desk and signed.
My bill would simply codify the FCC “bright line” rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization for internet traffic, and require the ISPs be transparent in their network management practices and prices. That would inform consumers.
Two of my Republican colleagues, Reps. Bob Latta and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have introduced legislation that could also gain Democratic support as it has in the past.
Each provide an opportunity to work together to protect consumers and preserve a free and open internet – that is true net neutrality.
But, net neutrality is not heavy-handed overregulation by the government and five unelected bureaucrats at the FCC. Net neutrality does not need the harmful, heavy-handed approach that House Democrats are trying to shove down its throat. Net neutrality does not require a government takeover of the internet. All it needs is a Congress willing to work together on a real solution that could become law.