CCAGW Encourages Sen. Kennedy to Continue to Oppose the Net Neutrality CRA

February 22, 2018

Senator John N. Kennedy
SR 383, Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Kennedy,

On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), I want to thank you for your efforts to rein in the regulatory overreach of government during the last year, including 14 Obama-era regulations through your votes in favor of Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislation.  Much has been accomplished, but more remains to be done. 

In this regard, I ask you to oppose efforts to rescind the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) December 14, 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order using the CRA.  This order simply restored the internet’s proper classification as an information service, as was intended under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the bipartisan agreement between then-President Bill Clinton and Congress to regulate the internet with a light touch.  And unlike the prior CRAs, this would restore an Obama-era regulation and undermine the efforts that have been made to eliminate them.

The light-touch regulatory environment allowed the internet to develop into one of the greatest innovations in history, creating millions of jobs and a global explosion in technological innovation.  That was the status quo until February 2015, when the FCC voted to impose on the internet a heavy-handed regulatory scheme, originally intended to control a landline, copper-wire telephone monopoly under the Communications Act of 1934.  These regulations did nothing to promote internet freedom, stifled innovation and investment, and were particularly harmful to small and rural internet service providers (ISPs).

The December 2017 FCC order restores the internet to its longtime, bipartisan, pre-2015 regulatory classification; it also reinstates the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ability to investigate privacy and consumer protection violations by internet service providers, and strengthens its enforcement capabilities by increasing transparency requirements on ISPs.  The CRA, if enacted, would hinder both the FCC and the FTC from protecting consumers, and discourage further broadband deployment, particularly in rural areas of the country, including in states like Louisiana.

Rather than going back to the days of the Obama administration’s FCC, Congress should build on the progress it has made by focusing its efforts on reducing regulatory barriers to deployment, and enabling more private sector investment in infrastructure.  The people of Louisiana deserve an economy that welcomes investment and innovation, not one choked by more red tape.

Again, I urge you to voice your opposition to enactment of any CRA that would rescind the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, and work toward meaningful reforms that would encourage future investment in broadband deployment.  If you have any questions, please contact either me or CCAGW’s Technology and Telecommunications Policy Director Deborah Collier at 202-467-5300. 

We truly appreciate your commitment to reducing the regulatory overreach of Washington, D.C., and look forward to working more with you on telecommunication issues and other matters of great importance to taxpayers.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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