House Republicans Threaten To Curb The FCC’s “Ability To Regulate The Internet”

Following a landmark vote to put in place strict net neutrality regulations, a group of 21 Republican House members sent a nastygram to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, upbraiding him from policy to procedure, and threatening more than just words.

The GOP coterie, after repeating prior complaints, said the following:

Finally, to the extent that a public record supports further action, we will consider introducing legislation to ensure the antitrust laws are the preferred enforcement method against anticompetitive conduct on the Internet. Moreover, given how the FCC has exercised its authority, this legislation may include a restriction on the FCC’s ability to regulate the Internet.

Rest assured, the Committee on the Judiciary will take every action necessary to ensure that the Internet remains a free, competitive marketplace.

As the President maintains veto authority due to his office, the last threat is mostly empty. At the same time, the antipathy present in the prose makes the missive worth noticing.

Reader exercise: What percentage of the 21 signatories of the letter are on the record in favor of the NSA’s dragnet surveillance methods, especially as they relate to encryption, and domestic spying? Then cross that with the above-quoted plea to keep the Internet a free place where competition can thrive. If you can’t spot the dissonance, turn on the lights.

Also keep in mind the rift we have in place between the two ‘factions’ on this particular issue. The Congressional majority thinks that the FCC is snuffing out the Internet’s freedom, and its status as an open marketplace with its regulations. The Democratic majority on the FCC think precisely the opposite. Both teams can’t be right.