George Will: GOP Will Invoke Congressional Review Act to Challenge FCC Net Neutrality Decision

Posted: Jan 07, 2011 6:12 PM
Breaking news from George Will's forthcoming column:

Rep. Fred Upton, 57, who represents southwestern Michigan, is now chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He notes that last summer the Progressive Change Campaign Committee got 95 Democratic congressional candidates to pledge support for federal regulation of the Internet. In November, all 95 lost. Upton will try to stymie the FCC's impertinence by using the Congressional Review Act, under which a measure to reverse a regulation gets expedited consideration and cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

For more background on why this action is crucial to push back against the Obama administration's regulatory overreach, ready my December column on the subject.  I interviewed Americans for Prosperity's Phil Kerpen, who prescribed this exact remedy to the FCC's abusive edict:

Despite clear opposition from two branches of the federal government and the American people, the FCC has forged ahead with its aggressive regulations. Beyond the introduction of legislation authored by Blackburn and McCain, some conservatives are suggesting additional responses to Tuesday’s action. “The best, cleanest response is for Congress to use a process called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which can overturn any federal agency rulemaking,” Kerpen said. “It’s important to use this mechanism because it’s protected against the filibuster.”

Such a move would likely fly through the Republican-controlled House next year, but might stall in the Senate. Even there, Kerpen argued, the CRA offers a viable solution: “It only requires 30 Senators to sign a petition to introduce it. Once it’s introduced, the petition forces ten hours of debate, followed by an up-or-down vote that cannot be filibustered,” Kerpen explained. Thirty Republicans Senators have already signed a letter to this effect, as has pro-net neutrality Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who objects to FCC interference.

When he was first elevated, some conservatives expressed concerns over how faithful and aggressive Upton would be in beating back creeping statism in his capacity as chairman. This is a promising start.