House Democrats continue to press Republicans on net neutrality


At first, Energy & Commerce Chair Fred Upton(R-MI) and Communications Subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-OR) were just going to go ahead and vote on Walden’s net neutrality resolution of disapproval. But Democrats wanted a hearing. They got that – and now they want to be able to offer amendments.

The letter came from Upton and Walden opposites Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and was signed by nine other Democrats.

They thanked the Republicans for scheduling the hearing for Wednesday 3/9/11, but added, “The process you propose would deprive members of one of their most fundamental rights:  the right to offer amendments.  We recognize there is disagreement about the role of the Commission with respect to the Internet, but we do not believe that justifies denying us the right to amend your legislation.”

They said the remedy is to replace the resolution with a regular bill that would have the same effect, but would allow the possibility of amendment.

The resolution, which was introduced by Walden, would simply strip the FCC’s network neutrality order of force and effect. It is the same strategy used by former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) in his attempt to undo Michael Powell’s 2003 media ownership rulemaking.

RBR-TVBR observation: And so it goes in Congress. If this proceeding is changed in such a way that amendments will be possible, Democrats will offer them and watch them get voted down. Their position will still have to be defended in the Senate and/or the White House. But they’ll at least get votes on the record. And eat up some time.