Legislators express disappointment, concern in court ruling upholding FCC authority on net neutrality

Congressional leaders reacted on Tuesday to a federal court’s decision to uphold the FCC’s legal authority to impose its net neutrality policy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the legal authority of the FCC’s Open Internet Order and to not reel in the commission’s ability to reclassify some Internet providers as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that the court ruling was “just one procedural step in a long and complicated legal process.”

“As a strong advocate for a free and open Internet, I believe that Congress — not unelected bureaucrats — should play the leading role in determining the future of the Internet,” Hatch said. “In addition to violating the Constitution’s separation of powers and abusing its rulemaking authority, the FCC’s misguided attempt to regulate the Internet will lead to less competition, slower speeds, higher prices and less innovation for the broadband Internet services industry.” 

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that he was “disappointed” in the court’s decision to uphold the FCC’s reclassification because it would threaten innovation and expansion of broadband service.

“The FCC’s rule not only circumvents the lawmaking process, but also the very people who are responsible for the Internet’s evolution and success: entrepreneurs and its users,” Gardner, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said. “I’m hopeful the Supreme Court will recognize the administration’s brazen abuse of power and overreach, and overturn the FCC’s misguided rule.”

U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Greg Walden (R-OR), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said that Title II would “stifle Internet innovation” and have a trickle down impact on customers.

“Because of this added layer of regulation, sadly we’ll never realize the full potential of the Internet industry’s ability to innovate,” Upton and Walden said in a joint statement. “While jobs, innovation and consumers are the big losers today; there is little doubt that this ruling will be appealed. We hope that the courts will reverse this decision and uphold the letter of the law to protect consumers and allow the Internet industry to innovate and invest.”

U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) said it was “truly disappointing” that the FCC was not held “accountable for multiple systematic flaws and legal failings these rules represent” by the court.

“These regulations will hold the internet back from reaching its fullest possible capacity for innovators and consumers,” Long, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said. “I’m hopeful that this decision will be reversed in accordance with the law upon appeal.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that the ruling was the result of an unelected bureaucracy moving forward with regulations not explicitly authorized by Congress.

“Technology moves quickly and advances in communications reinforce the need to ensure the statutory authority to remove barriers to innovation and open the market to benefit consumers, companies, and our nation’s role in the global Internet marketplace is what should be driving our regulatory process,” Kinzinger said.

The House of Representatives previously approved a bill introduced by Kinzinger, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, H.R. 2666, to prohibit the FCC from regulating broadband rates and roll back its authority.

More Articles About Orrin Hatch
More Articles About Telecommunications