Posted by: Debby Durkee | December 22, 2010

DeMint vows to reverse FCC Internet action.

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DeMint vows to reverse FCC Internet action.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, calls the Federal Communications Commission’s Internet decision of yesterday a hostile takeover. He calls it an illegal action. They have ignored Congress and a court ruling. This is from Mark Tapscott over at the Washington Examiner.

A federal court has ruled that the commission has no authority to regulate the Internet, and a bipartisan group of senators and representatives warned (FCC Chairman Julius) Genachowski not to attempt to impose a regulatory regime on the Internet earlier this year.

The move’s legality was even questioned by FCC Commissioner Michael Copp, one of the Democrats who voted today with Genachowski, saying he considered voting against the proposal because it lacks a sufficiently defensible legal basis to survive a court challenge promised by major Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Microsoft, and AT & T.

But legal challenges by industry are likely to be much less of a problem for the Genachowski-led takeover than efforts in Congress to stop the FCC in its tracks.  Snip —

DeMint has decided to take matters into his own hands in the 112th Congress. Here’s his statement:

“The Obama Administration has ignored evidence that this federal takeover will hang a millstone of regulatory and legal uncertainty around the neck of a vibrant sector of our economy.

“Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways.

Americans loudly demanded a more limited federal government this November, but the Obama Administration has dedicated itself to expanding centralized government planning. Today, unelected bureaucrats rammed through an internet takeover, even after Congress and courts warned them not to.

To keep the internet economy thriving, this decision must be reversed. Regulatory reform will be a top priority for Republicans in the next Congress, and I intend to prevent the FCC or any government agency from unilaterally burdening our recovering economy with baseless regulation.

“In order to provide the stability businesses need to grow, I will work with my fellow senators to see passage of my FCC Act, which would ensure that the FCC can only use its rulemaking powers where there is clear evidence of a harmful market failure, as well as the REINS Act, which would add the accountability of a Congressional vote before any government agency’s proposed major regulations may be finalized.”

And, what about our First Amendment rights? As Tapscott reminds us, this isn’t the first time the FCC has maneuvered regulations that would harm conservatives’ speech.

…Former CBS News president Fred Friendly’s landmark book, “The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment,” describes in great detail how the Kennedy and Johnson administrations used the FCC to silence conservative critics.

Every time you think the Obama administration couldn’t possibly do anything else to totally tick you off, they somehow find a way. Read it all here:

Why not just kill the FCC?

David Harsani of the Denver Post says why bother with trying to rein in the FCC. The commission is an anachronism and should be eliminated. Honestly, where do unneeded and out of control government programs ever go to die? Isn’t it about time that Congress looked at all of these regulatory commissions? They’re all out of control both in their unending desire to see a nail everywhere that they want to hammer and in their costs both to the taxpayers as well as businesses and consumers.

Congressional Democrats could not find the votes to pass “net neutrality.” No problem. Three un-elected officials will impose rules on hundreds of millions of satisfied online consumers. A federal appeals court stops the FCC from employing authority over the Internet. Again, not a problem. Three out of five FCC commissioners can carve out some temporary wiggle room, because as any crusading technocrat knows, the most important thing is getting in the door.

It’s not that we don’t need the FCC’s meddling, it’s that we don’t need the FCC at all. Rather than expanding the powers — which always seem to grow — of this outdated bureaucracy, Congress should be finding ways to eliminate it.

Why would we want a prehistoric bureaucracy overseeing one of the century’s great innovations? As a bottom-up, unregulated and under- taxed market in which technological innovation, free speech and competition thrive — at affordable prices, no less — the Internet poses a crisis of ideology, not commerce, for the FCC. It’s about control and relevance. Snip –

the FCC can also censor speech. And once the FCC can regulate Internet service providers, those providers will be more compliant and more interested in making censors happy.

The FCC also can hand out favors and hurt competition. And as Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, wrote in 2008, “Economic growth requires innovation. Trouble is, Washington is practically designed to resist it. Built into the DNA of the most important agencies created to protect innovation is an almost irresistible urge to protect the powerful instead.” Snip –

The same organization that forced all consumers to buy Ma Bell-made telephones for decades, the same FCC that enforced speech codes via radio “fairness doctrines,” the same FCC which took two decades after its invention to OK cellular technology for the marketplace and acted similarly sluggish with cable and satellite innovation has no business online.

I’m with Harsani. It’s time to eliminate some dinosaur agencies in the federal government. Our country cannot afford their costs as far as a bloated bureaucracy is concerned, but, beyond the monetary costs — our freedom cannot afford these agencies. They’re strangling the American spirit of free enterprise, free speech, and individualism. If Congress is looking for a place to cut, they couldn’t do any better than starting with the FCC. Read it all here:


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