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E & C Dems Seek Delay In Net Neutrality Resolution Markup

Top Democrats on the
House Energy & Commerce Committee have asked for a hearing on the
Republican-backed resolution to block the FCC's network neutrality rules before
it is marked up in the Communications Subcommittee. That markup has been
scheduled for Wednesday, March 3.

In a letter to Committee
Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg
Walden (R-Ore.),
ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and subcommittee ranking member Anna
Eshoo (D-Calif.) suggested the committee was making a "serious mistake"
by departing from the regular routine of first holding a legislative hearing on
the resolution before marking it up. Marking up is the process of adding or
defeating amendments and voting on the resulting version of the bill in
committee or subcommittee.

"You apparently
believe that disapproving the FCC regulation will promote economic
growth.  There are, however, many fast-growing companies that take a
different position and believe approval of the disapproval resolution would be
a serious threat to our economy. Members should have the opportunity to hear
their perspective before voting on the resolution."

Earlier in the day,
Upton told a crowd of broadcasters gathered for a conference that the bill
would be marked up--and approved--Wednesday and could get a vote on the floor
by the end of the month.

"We are not aware
of any time constraints or deadlines that require us to act tomorrow.  The
FCC's rules will not go into effect for some time, giving us plenty of
opportunity to hear views that have been excluded from the process." While
the rules were approved Dec. 21, portions of them must be vetted by OMB per the
Paperwork Reduction Act, which will put off their effective date until
midsummer at the earliest.

"Accordingly, we
urge you to convene a legislative hearing before we markup this