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Letter of Support: Rep. Blackburn's Internet Freedom Act, H.R. 96

January 10, 2011 J

Dear Congresswoman Blackburn,

On behalf of more than 1.5 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I am writing to applaud your introduction of H.R. 96, the Internet Freedom Act. The Federal Communications Commission is engaged in a regulatory power grab, and Congress must intervene. It is unfortunate that agencies—including the EPA, FCC and the Department of Labor—are trying to usurp Congress’s proper legislative authority by invoking regulatory authority they have never been granted. Your bill’s clean preemption language reminding the FCC that Congress retains full jurisdiction over Internet and IP services is an important and well-timed measure given the FCC’s recent net neutrality rules.

FCC’s actions are substantively without merit. The Internet has been the free market success story of the past twenty years. Private investment and innovation have flourished and driven increased productivity and connectivity to levels unimaginable only a few short decades ago. Despite rapid adoption, consistently increasing speeds and decreasing prices, a partisan 3-2 majority at the FCC, President Obama and market assailants—such as Free Press and Public Knowledge—are claiming the Internet is broken and in need of regulatory constriction. However, nothing could be further from the truth. FCC net neutrality rules would hamper innovation and investment at the edges and core of the Internet; their regulatory actions are unnecessary and contrary to the Internet’s unregulated history.

FCC’s actions are also procedurally flawed. The Commission is currently attempting a second foray into Internet regulations, after its first attempt was rejected by the courts. In Comcast v. FCC, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stated, it is axiomatic that “administrative agencies may [act] only pursuant to authority delegated them by Congress,” they do not have “untrammeled freedom to regulate activities over which the statue fails to confer Commission authority.” The court vacated FCC’s order and rebuked their attempted power grab. The courts are not alone in their rejection of FCC’s purported authority. More than 300 Members of Congress, including 86 Democrats, signed a letter stating Internet policy is the province of Congress, not the FCC.

Americans for Prosperity is proud to support your legislation. I urge your colleagues to support its passage and look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

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