Republican Chairs Seek White House Support for Net Bill

The chairs of the House Energy & Commerce Committee (Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.) and Senate Communications Subcommittee (Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.) have written President Obama to convince him that their proposed network-neutrality legislation would codify the principles of no blocking, throttling or paid prioritization -- without reclassifying ISP's under Title II regs.

Upton and Thune want the bill to be bipartisan, but don't have any Democrats signed on as yet.

Without any Democrats, and even perhaps with them, the president is likely to veto a bill that prevents the Federal Commuications Commission from imposing Title II regs, which he has strongly endorsed.

The letter is reprinted in full below:

Dear Mr. President:

Our respective committees in the House and Senate recently began an open and honest effort to achieve a bipartisan legislative solution to protect Internet users, promote innovation, and encourage robust broadband investment. Such a law, enacted with your signature, would avoid the legal uncertainty created by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) nearly decade-long endeavor to determine its own authority to regulate broadband Internet services.

Before concluding your remarks to Congress and the American people in this year’s State of the Union address, you said, “I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.”  We accept your invitation to work together to achieve positive and enduring results for all Americans who rely on the Internet in our increasingly digital economy.

We believe there is an opportunity to work together to provide legislative certainty to the net neutrality goals you articulated on November 10, 2014. We have put forward legislation that seeks to codify the principles you highlighted in your statement, including prohibiting blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. This legislation places these principles into law, without the uncertainty of litigation that Commission action would entail. Working together to craft sustainable protections will have lasting benefits for our country and Internet users alike.

Finding an agreement on enforceable authority for the FCC will have a profound, positive impact on Internet users, edge innovators, and infrastructure investment – all without the legal uncertainty that exists absent clear statutory guidance.                                                  


Fred Upton, John Thune

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.