Among the other possible "tools" House Republicans could pursue to block the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules would be to try to block funding to implement the order on the issue, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Tuesday.
During an interview as part of a National Journal Live event, Upton repeated his earlier pledge that House Republicans will use "all the tools in the toolbox" to try to block the net neutrality order the FCC approved in December that aims to ensure that broadband providers do not discriminate against Internet content and applications.
Upton was asked about the Republicans' pledge to try to block the rules by passing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. Upton said while the resolution "is probably the most likely vehicle," he also suggested that denying funding to allow the FCC to carry out the order is another option.
He noted that the first opportunity to cut off such funding could come next week when the House is expected to take up a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.
After the event, Upton said he did not know if an effort to deny funding would "happen as early as next week" but said it is among the possible options available to lawmakers.
During the event, Upton would not say when the resolution of disapproval would be introduced but noted he would not be the one to offer it. Such a resolution under the Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers a limited amount of time to try to block a federal agency's rule. It is binding and only requires a majority vote in both chambers. Upton said he expects bipartisan support in both chambers for such a resolution.
Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., is supporting the effort to block the FCC's net neutrality order and could take the lead on offering the resolution in the House. In the Senate, Commerce ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, also has indicated she will offer a resolution of disapproval to block the net neutrality rules.
Upton said that his committee will be holding a hearing on Feb. 16 during which all five FCC commissioners are set to appear. He predicted net neutrality will be "the big issue they will be quizzed on."
Upton also noted that the FCC's order will be tested in the courts. Verizon filed a challenge to the FCC's order last month. "I'm not a lawyer but I'll bet they lose, the FCC loses," he said.
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