At a mark-up of legislation in the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) stated the case, once again, that Republicans stand willing to work in a bipartisan way on a net neutrality solution. In his opening remarks, Latta highlighted the three bills proposed by Republican members of the committee that have had support from Democrats in the past. None of the bills include the burdensome Title II framework included in the legislation, H.R. 1644, passed by the subcommittee this morning.
In his opening, Latta said:
“The goalposts have drastically shifted to complete government control of the internet. This innovative, economic, and social engine, which thrived for decades with little government input, will now be throttled by the heavy hand of Title II. There’s a reason why Title II was a huge investment killer for small ISPs in the short time it was in effect. I highlighted at the last hearing some of the most troubling examples of the government’s free-ranging authority to take over and micromanage privately owned broadband networks under Title II.
“My colleague, Chairman Doyle, acknowledged that Title II does in fact carry all of that authority, but claimed that this bill would lock in permanent forbearance to keep the FCC from exercising much of it. It is not clear to me that this would actually be the effect of the bill’s language, but even if it were, it appears that the FCC could easily accomplish all of the same mischief through the broad authority granted in sections 201 and 202.
“So, if you are a small rural broadband provider, there is still plenty to worry about here. We are all hearing concerns from folks in this exact situation, based on their thankfully short real-world experience with Title II. I hope some of my colleagues in the majority will be able to see past the false dilemma you are being presented with here. We stand ready to work with anyone who is not completely wedded to Title II.
Video of Congressman Latta’s opening statement is available here.