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Blackburn Blasts Administration, FCC Over Regulatory Approach

Conservative Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) pulled no punches and took no prisoners in a speech to the deregulatory-minded Free State Foundation Wednesday, saying the Obama Administration was regulating communications and other sectors with an "act first and think later" approach under the "costly and dangerously arrogant" assumption that government knows best.

According to a copy of the speech supplied by the foundation, she pointed out that the FCC's reach extended into one-sixth of the nation's economy with a regulatory manual that has grown 800% in the past half century. She added that the Federal Trade Commission has its fingers "deep into the privacy debate, data security and control over advertising practices," saying "excessive regulation kills-regardless who your regulator is."

She said the administration is willing to justify any regs under the banner of public interest, including advertising of children's serials.

She called the FCC's network neutrality regs, of which she is a strong opponent, a prime example of government creating a problem and then inventing a solution to fix it, repeating her characterization of the rules as an Internet Iron Curtain.

But she also invoked religious references that would not have flown behind that Curtain. She highlighted the 11 months between the Dec. 2010 vote to approve the network neutrality rules and their effective date, which will be late Nov. "You know-I used to think these dates and deadlines were completely arbitrary, but I guess the FCC operates on some sort of 'Turkey Time.'" It's as if the FCC thinks their net neutrality rules were a Christmas gift to the American people, and we should be thanking them for all these new 'protections' come Thanksgiving," she said.

Blackburn said Congress would need to insist on the repeal of outdated regs.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has pointed out to legislators that the FCC is in the midst of regulatory reviews that have resulted in the termination of numerous data-collection obligations and the deep-sixing of half a hundred rules. That has included striking the fairness doctrine, a target of much Republican angst and anger, from the record rulebooks back in August -- it has not been enforced in some 25 years.

The White House has also charged independent agencies to publish their plans for reg reviews per his executive order that regs should be vetted for their impact on the economy and jobs.

The Free State Foundation hosted Blackburn and other policymakers at a Washington event celebrating its fifth anniversary.