House Votes to Halt Obama’s Plan to Give Up Internet Authority

Republicans fear Russia or China could gain new influence over the Internet.

A picture taken on September 17, 2013 in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, shows a room of cabling servers 'clients' at the French branch of Digital Realty, a company involved in datacenter acquisition, ownership, development and operation. Digital Realty's customers include domestic and international companies across multiple industry verticals ranging from information technology and Internet enterprises, to manufacturing and financial services.
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Brendan Sasso
May 22, 2014, 8:37 a.m.

The House ap­proved an amend­ment Thursday that would delay the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plan to give up over­sight of cer­tain tech­nic­al In­ter­net man­age­ment func­tions.

In a 245-177 vote, the House at­tached the le­gis­la­tion to the an­nu­al de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill. Sev­en­teen Demo­crats joined the Re­pub­lic­ans in ap­prov­ing the meas­ure. The House then voted to pass the full de­fense bill, which in­cluded a num­ber of oth­er amend­ments.

Re­pub­lic­ans fear the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plan could al­low Rus­sia, China, or oth­er au­thor­it­ari­an re­gimes to seize new powers over the In­ter­net and even cen­sor web­sites.

The amend­ment would re­quire the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice to study the is­sue be­fore the Com­merce De­part­ment could give up its con­trac­tu­al au­thor­ity over the In­ter­net Cor­por­a­tion for As­signed Names and Num­bers — the non­profit group that man­ages the tech­nic­al pro­ced­ures that al­low com­puters world­wide to con­nect to web­sites. The trans­fer of au­thor­ity over IC­ANN to the “glob­al In­ter­net com­munity” is sched­uled to take place next year.

The lan­guage of the amend­ment matches a bill, the Dot­com Act, which was ap­proved by the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee earli­er this month.

In a state­ment, En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee Chair­man Fred Up­ton warned that “Rus­sia, China, and Ir­an would like noth­ing more than to wrest con­trol of the In­ter­net.” He ar­gued that the ad­min­is­tra­tion should “hit the pause but­ton and al­low for in­de­pend­ent re­view” of its plan.

Demo­crats ar­gue that the trans­ition is part of the long-stand­ing po­s­i­tion of the United States to sup­port the “multi-stake­hold­er” mod­el of In­ter­net gov­ernance, in which de­cisions are made by an ar­ray of non­profits, com­pan­ies, aca­dem­ics, and en­gin­eers.

In a let­ter earli­er this month op­pos­ing the Dot­com Act, a top Com­merce De­part­ment of­fi­cial said that the trans­ition will strengthen the multi-stake­hold­er mod­el and un­der­cut au­thor­it­ari­an re­gimes that are ar­guing for more gov­ern­ment con­trol of the In­ter­net.

Kelly Welsh, the de­part­ment’s gen­er­al coun­sel, said the bill “sends the wrong sig­nal to the glob­al In­ter­net com­munity” and “re­in­forces the mis­ap­pre­hen­sion that the U.S. gov­ern­ment ‘con­trols’ the In­ter­net.”

He em­phas­ized that the U.S. won’t com­plete the power trans­fer un­til IC­ANN out­lines a plan for In­ter­net man­age­ment that is free from con­trol by any gov­ern­ment.

But Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Re­pub­lic­an and the au­thor of the amend­ment, main­tained that there’s no way to con­trol IC­ANN once the U.S. gives up its role.

“Once our au­thor­ity is gone, it’s gone for good,” he said.

Sen­ate Demo­crats are ex­pec­ted to op­pose the amend­ment, but the de­fense bill is con­sidered “must-pass” le­gis­la­tion.

What We're Following See More »
EMERGING BUDGET FRAMEWORK?
Dems Proposes Obamacare-for-Defense Deal
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."

Source:
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKING DOC REQUEST
Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
14 hours ago
BREAKING

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Source:
SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING
Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
MESSAGE TO PUTIN
U.S. To Conduct Exercises In Estonia
19 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.

Source:
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login