"The communications industry is one of the few sectors still firing on all cylinders in this economy; the market is more competitive than it has ever been before, and the underlying technologies and business models are evolving at a rapid and accelerating pace," Republican supporters wrote in report language accompanying the bill.
"The FCC cannot know if intervention is appropriate unless it has rigorously examined the marketplace and afforded the public and affected parties adequate opportunity to review proposals and provide input," they added.
Under the bill, the FCC would have to conduct a detailed survey of the industry before issuing rules that increase business costs, publish rules in advance to provide time for industry and consumer feedback, and identify a specific market failure or harm and conduct a cost-benefit analysis before issuing rules that cost more than $100 million.
Republicans noted that while FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has tried to improve the process, "only legislation can ensure that these reforms remain intact from one administration to the next."
Democrats said in the report that the bill would change the uniform rules of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) that prescribe how federal agencies collect input and issue rules — in essence arguing that the GOP would over-regulate the FCC, mirroring GOP complaints that the FCC is over-regulating industry.
"Specifically, H.R. 3309 contains numerous new and untested terms that could take years for the FCC and reviewing courts to interpret and implement," the Democrats wrote.
The House Rules Committee has set a Monday deadline for submitting amendments to the bill, a sign the House will likely consider the bill sometime next week.