Republicans say net neutrality ‘cannot be allowed to stand,’ promise fight in 112th

House Republicans are promising a swift reaction to the Federal Communication Commission’s net-neutrality rules that could get off the ground as soon as January.

Incoming House Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) said in a press conference on Tuesday that his committee is planning multiple hearings to beat back regulations the FCC approved Tuesday.

{mosads}The regulations, which aim to prevent phone and cable companies from toying with Internet traffic, have stoked virtually unanimous resistance from House Republicans and found a growing constituency of opponents in the Senate. 

Upton said Congress must “use every resource available” to halt the regulations. 

“The FCC’s hostile actions toward innovation, investment and job creation cannot be allowed to stand,” he said. 

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will take the lead on beating back the regulations as chairman of the Communications subcommittee, while the the Trade and Oversight subcommittees will also play a role, according to Upton. 

Walden suggested the FCC’s action could open the door to ever greater regulation of Internet lines.

“If left unchallenged, this power grab will allow the Commission to regulate any interstate wired or wireless communication on barely more than a whim,” he said.

Hearings are likely to focus on the impact of the rules, their legal underpinnings, and the process used to pass them, which opponents have described as opaque, according to the members. 

They said they will explore every legislative vehicle to halt the regulations, including the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to repeal regulations. A budget amendment is another option, they said.

Incoming vice chairwoman of the trade subcommittee Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said she will reintroduce legislation to block the rules.  

Congress must “make certain the Internet remains available to our creative economy,” she said.

Any legislative route to repeal, however, is likely to run into problems after President Obama backed the regulations on Tuesday. 

Still, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will likely get called to Capitol Hill for hearings. Incoming communications subcommittee Vice Chairman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) questioned the FCC’s top regulator for putting a premium on new rules.

“Why was it so important that this lone ranger Julius Genachowski” move to give the agency “unprecedented power — in one fell swoop?”

Genachowski said at a press conference on Tuesday that he is willing to discuss the regulations with anyone who is interested.

Tags Marsha Blackburn

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