Blackburn Makes Pre-emptive Attack on FCC Net Neutrality Order
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, vowed Tuesday to work to overturn any net neutrality order that the FCC may vote on in December.
"This is a hysterical reaction by the FCC to a hypothetical problem," Blackburn said in a statement. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski "has little if any congressional support for net neutrality."
Blackburn said that Genachowski can expect "this folly" to be overturned next year. In order to make that happen, Blackburn said she will reintroduce her bill to "pull the FCC from the policy making process on the first day of the 112th Congress."
Nearly 20 Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, including the candidates vying to be chairman of the panel in the 112th Congress when the GOP takes control of the House, oppose the FCC taking any action on the issue in 2010.
"If Genachowski goes forward with this net neutrality order in December, it poisons the well for cooperation on spectrum and [universal service fund reform], issues that are ripe for bipartisan cooperation," said Howard Waltzman, a former Energy and Commerce Committee aide. "It's an indication that the FCC is not willing to work with the new Congress."
Democratic Reps. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Ed Markey, D-Mass., are among those members of the committee who are expected to support any action from the FCC to protect the openness of the Internet.
Update: 4:50 pm
Add Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon to the list of lawmakers who support Genachowski's rumored move to take action on net neutrality.
The trio of senators wrote Genachowski Tuesday urging him to "bring the Open Internet proceeding in December."
The lawmakers offered the chairman sympathy for the criticism he has received from all sides during his effort to find the appropriate role for the agency on protecting the open Internet.
"It is always easier to criticize the policy-making process than it is to make good policy," the senators wrote.
In conclusion, they urged him to move forward on his path to a "principled center."