Conservative groups urge Congress to let net neutrality repeal stand

Conservative groups urge Congress to let net neutrality repeal stand
© Greg Nash

A coalition of conservative groups are urging Congress not to support a bill that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality.

Twenty-four free-market groups sent letters to lawmakers Monday calling on them to let the FCC’s decision stand, arguing that the rules stifled investment from broadband companies.

“Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s 2015 decision to classify the Internet as a public utility under Title II was a solution in search of a problem, and disrupted the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) tried and true approach,” the letter reads.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is not the way policy should be conducted, especially in an area that has such a substantial impact on the U.S. economy,” the groups added.

The letter’s signatories include influential conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

Democrats argue that the net neutrality rules were essential to preserving an open internet, while most Republicans say they were unnecessary and that there is little threat from service providers abusing their power over access.

Senate Democrats are promising a floor vote on a bill that would overturn the FCC’s decision. After winning the support of Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsProgressive Jewish group endorses Biden Poll: Gideon leads Collins by 8 points in Maine Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (R-Maine), they are currently one vote shy of passing the bill, which would likely face a much steeper battle in the House.

While the coalition of conservative groups urged Republicans not to support the bill, they left the door open to supporting a legislative replacement to the rule — a course of action that most net neutrality supporters dismiss out of hand in a GOP-controlled Congress.

“While we believe that the FTC, [Department of Justice] and state Attorneys General already have robust powers, there may be a need for additional legislation,” the letter reads. “However, that is a decision for Congress, not unelected bureaucrats.”