Following the Federal Communications Commission’s party-line adoption of a new internet regulatory scheme, conservatives are already plotting to challenge and oppose implementation of the new policy at every turn. Critics say the still-unpublished “net neutrality” regulations mark an unprecedented federal intrusion into the realm of internet operation. They’re condemning the three Democratic commissioners who supported the measure for imposing a draconian solution to a non-existent problem. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s 3-2 FCC vote, Republican members of the House and Senate are preparing to file bills to thwart the new FCC rules, and conservative activists are gearing up for a major fight.
“On January 5, I will re-file a bill to prohibit the FCC from implementing these rules and regulations,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn). “We, as members of Congress should control [the process of internet regulation] if we decide it’s necessary. There is strong bipartisan agreement on that point.” Blackburn said she expects a Senate companion bill, authored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), to address the issue in the upper chamber. “I look at this as the Fairness Doctrine of the internet,” she warned, “the FCC would be in a position to make determinations of online priorities and value. We will vigorously oppose [today’s FCC vote] because it’s a hysterical reaction to a hypothetical problem.”
Blackburn said swiftly cutting the FCC’s recent maneuver off at the knees would send an important message to the agency that internet regulation is beyond its jurisdiction. “They’ve done this during the week of Christmas, when they think people aren’t watching. We are watching, and we don’t want to give them even a toehold on internet regulation because once they have one, they’ll look to expand it,” she said. Blackburn pointed to internet taxation and content micromanagement as potential future FCC abuses if Tuesday’s move is permitted to stand.
Phil Kerpen, Vice President for Policy at Americans for Prosperity, said conservatives must combat the new regulations both on substantive and procedural grounds. “Conservatives should care about this because the internet has been unregulated for ten years, and has been wildly successful during that time. Now, Democrats are looking to regulate it for the first time ever. On its face, it’s a huge increase in the reach and strength of the federal government’s regulatory power,” he said.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography