Republican vows to fight 'illegal' Internet rules

FCC, Net Neutrality
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The Federal Communications Commission has reached beyond its jurisdiction and needs to be reined in, according to one of its top congressional overseers.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who heads the House Energy and Commerce's Communication Subcommittee, attacked the agency for expanding its power with new net neutrality regulations and said Congress will flex its muscle to fight them.

The new rules are “a total overreach,” Walden said at a Wednesday industry summit hosted by the American Cable Association, a trade group for small cable providers. “I think it’s illogical and illegal. It didn’t have to be this way.”

“It is a fiction that the FCC is an independent agency anymore,” he added, echoing complaints of Republicans who say the agency has been bullied by the Obama administration. ”It is a relationship directly out of the White house, as we now know, and that is tragedy for the professionals at the FCC.”

Walden’s committee on Wednesday is set to authorize the FCC’s budget, giving Republican lawmakers a chance to go after the tough new Web rules that the agency approved last week. 

“We intend to do our due diligence,” Walden pledged.

Later on this month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will make three separate visits to congressional hearing rooms, where he is likely to receive a tongue-lashing from GOP lawmakers. 

The new rules, critics say, are not only outside the agency’s authority but will likely force companies to hold back on building out newer and faster services.  

Walden said on Wednesday that he had spoken with investors who said they “expect a 20 to 30 percent reduction in their investment.”