Panel Agrees To Dems' Request For Net Neutrality Hearing
House Energy and Commerce Republicans have agreed to a request from the panel's top Democrats to hold a hearing on a resolution that would block the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules.
The Communications and Technology Subcommittee postponed its scheduled markup Wednesday of a resolution of disapproval, offered by its chairman, Greg Walden, R-Ore., to block implementation of the FCC's open Internet rules. The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers a limited amount of time to pass a resolution of disapproval aimed at blocking regulations approved by federal agencies. While such resolutions are subject to the regular congressional process, they can not be amended.
A committee spokeswoman said Wednesday that the committee has agreed to a request from Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the ranking member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, to hold a hearing on the resolution before marking it up. She did not say when such a hearing would occur.
During a speech Wednesday afternoon at an Institute for Policy Innovation event, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., an Energy and Commerce member, said she expects the hearing followed by a markup of the resolution would take place on the same day next week.
The subcommittee already held one hearing last month on net neutrality featuring all five FCC commissioners during which Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., reiterated the GOP's pledge to offer a resolution of disapproval aimed at trying to block the commission's rules.
"I'm pleased the chairman has agreed to my request for regular order and a hearing," Eshoo said in a statement. "The open Internet is a vital part of our economy, and millions of jobs have been created along with thousands of new, innovative businesses because of it. Members need to hear from the job-creating businesses that rely on the Internet's openness, before any vote to eliminate the rules which protect it."