Pai Proposes Mowing New Path For FCC


Who knew that the FCC owned lawn care tools, or at least had the budget to purchase one for Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai.

Pai, the odds-on favorite to become at least the interim FCC Chairman come Jan. 20, believes the new FCC needs to remove “outdated and unnecessary regulations.”

Addressing the Free State Foundation at the free market think tank’s 10th anniversary luncheon on Wednesday (12/7), Pai said, “As anyone who has attempted to take a quick spin through Part 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations could tell you, the regulatory underbrush at the FCC is thick.  We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.”

Pai noted that Free State, and others, have already identified many that should go.

“One way the FCC can do this is through the biennial review, which we kicked off in early November,” he said. “Under section 11, Congress specifically directed the FCC to repeal unnecessary regulations.  We should follow that command.”

Noting that “during the Trump Administration, we will shift from playing defense at the FCC to going on offense,” Pai believes that “proof of market failure should guide the next Commission’s consideration of new regulations. The FCC should only adopt a regulation if it determines that its benefits outweigh its costs.”

Noting that the FCC has exceeding its legal authority on multiple occasions, barreling away each time on a 3-2 Democratic party-line vote, Pai expressed optimism that the FCC “will once again respect the limits that Congress has placed on our authority.  We can’t simply enact whatever we think is good public policy.  We also have to make sure that we have the power to do so.  But, the Commission hasn’t done a very good job of that recently.”

Pai also took an opportunity to slam expected-to-be-outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s failure for openness and transparency on his likely-doomed set-top box proposal.

“If you are in the good graces of the FCC’s leadership, you can receive detailed information about the set-top box proposal,” Pai said. “But, if you aren’t, you’re left in the dark.  To quote Victor Cerda of [educational] Spanish-language network Vme, ‘It’s like negotiating with a mime.’  This isn’t fair.  It isn’t how the regulatory process should work.  It tilts the playing field in favor of well-connected lobbyists and against the American public.  And, it must change.”