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Letter of Support: Hutchison-Walden FCC Disapproval Resolutions, S.J.Res.6 and H.J.Res.37

February 17, 2011 J

Dear Senator Hutchison and Congressman Walden,

On behalf of more than 1.6 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I commend you for introducing resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) attempt to push so-called network neutrality rules.

The explosion of investment, innovation and adoption in the Internet and IP-enabled devices over the past twenty years is the greatest free market success story of our time. It is no wonder then that Leftist ideologues have targeted it for subsumption by FCC bureaucrats. By any measure there is no market failure that necessitates government intervention. Prices continue to drop; adoption continues unabated; and quality continues to increase. So-called network neutrality rules threaten to upset this dynamic sector of the American, and global, economy. By attempting to force Internet providers to “treat every bit equally” we are restricting their ability to innovate and prioritize traffic in a way that is beneficial. We cannot even conceive of the next great innovation in either the core or edge of the burgeoning IP field. Installing a “solution” that is in search of a problem is not good policy.

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 statute fails to confer Commission authority.” The court vacated FCC’s order and rebuked their attempted power grab. But 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.

The Congressional Review Act is an important tool that helps Congress assert its proper role in the rulemaking process. When an agency oversteps its statutory authority and then ignores court rulings that properly clarify the agency’s authority, it is incumbent on Congress to use the CRA to vacate the rule.

I commend you for introducing resolutions of disapproval to preserve the greatest free market success story of the past twenty years. I encourage your colleagues to support your measure.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

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