Boehner, McConnell pan Internet push

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted President Obama’s call for stricter regulation to enforce open Internet rules on Monday. 

Boehner said House Republicans would continue their push to “stop misguided schemes to regulate the Internet.”

{mosads}”It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obama administration continues to disregard the people’s will and push for more mandates on our economy,” Boehner said in a statement. 

McConnell, who is poised to become Senate majority leader when Republicans take control of the upper chamber in January, said the growth of the Internet and mobile technology has happened because of the FCC’s light regulatory touch. 

“The President’s decision today to abandon this successful approach in favor of more heavy-handed regulation that will stifle innovation and concentrate more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats is a terrible idea,” McConnell said in a separate statement. “The Commission would be wise to reject it.”

Both leaders penned separate letters to Federal Communications Commissioner Tom Wheeler in May warning of the dangers posed by reclassifying broadband Internet under regulations governing traditional telephones in Title II of the Telecommunications Act. They had called on the FCC to work with Congress to update its statutory authority to regulate the Internet. 

The FCC is rewriting its rules after they were struck down earlier this year. 

Republicans and Internet service providers have been almost universally against the stricter regulations, meant to prevent providers from blocking or slowing service to websites selectively. The looming regulatory action is also meant to prevent providers from negotiating deals with websites that are willing or able to pay for faster service.

Trade groups representing technology companies, like Netflix and Facebook, have backed the stronger regulations in the past and applauded Obama’s statement on Monday.  

Obama called the FCC to use the “strongest possible” rules to protect net neutrality, specifically citing Title II. 

“So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do,” he said.

Tags John Boehner Mitch McConnell Net neutrality Title II telecommunications service

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