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Republicans rip Biden’s broadband policy at FCC hearing 

House GOP members and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) leaders attacked the Biden administration’s broadband policy at Thursday’s FCC oversight hearing.  

After two years without a fifth commissioner, FCC Democrats have started the process to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules. The 3-2 vote reinstated the policy that brings internet service providers under the jurisdiction of the FCC as telecommunications carriers. The FCC repealed net neutrality in 2017 under the Trump administration. 

“The Biden administration has chosen partisan ideology over smart policy,” Commissioner Brendan Carr (R) said. “Indeed, almost three years into this administration, a clear pattern has emerged. The Biden administration’s entire approach to the Internet — its broadband agenda, if you will — can be boiled down to one word: control.” 

House Republicans agreed, with Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) saying, “Burdensome and expansive regulations like these will only discourage broadband buildout at a time when Americans need it most.” 

Carr continued to attack the Biden administration, saying the regulation is not about consumer safety or efficiency, but about reinstating government control. 

“In other words, utility-style regulation of the Internet was never about improving your online experience — that was just the sheep’s clothing,” Carr said. “It was always about government control.” 

Other lawmakers agreed and said media marketplace legislation should be handled by Congress, not the FCC.  

“Changes to laws that govern the media marketplace need to be made by Congress, not by the FCC,” Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said. 

Congress members clashed with the FCC’s Democratic chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, throughout the hearing. When Latta asked how the reinstatement of net neutrality rules could impact national security, Rosenworcel responded, “I would be happy to have [a] discussion with you about national security issues. You and I spoke about this already.” 

Before beginning his questioning, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) addressed Rosenworcel, saying, “One of the main functions of Congress is oversight. So, we’re here for oversight, not confrontation. I want to be educated; I don’t want to be confrontational.” 

Other commissioners and House members encouraged their colleagues to refocus their attention on important issues at hand, such as consumer safety, rather than partisan finger-pointing. 

“Device security is just one of many other policy priorities that the FCC should instead focus on in lieu of partisan goals that do not further the public interest,” Republican Commissioner Nathan Simington said. “I am hopeful that my colleagues will embrace more bipartisan, commonsense policies going forward.” 

Recently confirmed fifth Commissioner Anna Gomez (D) agreed, saying, “We must be vigilant about protecting consumers. From spam calls and scam texts, to protecting victims of domestic violence, to ensuring the internet remains open, consumers’ interests must lead our policymaking.”    

Source: The Hill

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