Skip to main content

GOP Senators Seek Cost-Benefit Analysis of Net Neutrality Rules

Ten Republican Senators have signed on to a letter asking FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the FCC's network neutrality rules.

The 10, which includes Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.), the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC, were putting their collective muscle behind a second request by Sen. Dean Heller, who says the FCC did not respond to a July 12 letter following President Barack Obama's executive order asking independent agencies to "join executive agencies in reducing regulations that place unnecessary burdens on American businesses and the American people," as the senators put it in their follow-up letter Wednesday (July 27).

They argue that if the FCC had had the president's directive last December, before it approved new network neutrality rules on a 3-2 vote, it would have made a "more informed decision."

"Therefore, we respectfully request that before net neutrality rules go into effect, you honor the intent of the President's Executive Order by applying a retrospective review towards the net neutrality order and pursuing a cost benefit analysis. If not, please provide us with a detailed explanation."

An FCC spokesperson was checking on the status of the response to the July 12 letter at press time, but the FCC has already vetted the rules for paperwork costs/benefits and has passed them along to the Office of Management and Budget for a similar review. They likely won't be going into effect until October at the earliest, and even then could potentially be stayed given the likelihood of court challenges as soon as OMB is finished with its review. The rules don't go into effect until 60 days after that review, but lawsuits can be filed as soon as OMB has published its results in the Federal Register, assuming it finds no Paperwork Reduction Act issues that need further action.

In addition to Hutchison and DeMint, senators signing on to the letter were Jim Demint, Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio, John Thune, John Boozman, Patrick Toomey, Roger Wicker and Johnny Isakson.

Some key House Republicans pushed for a similar analysis months ago.