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Terry Takes Aim at Net Neutrality Proposal

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) took aim at the FCC during a House Energy & Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing Thursday on an unrelated subject, saying the commission was trying to "ram" the network neutrality vote down the public's throat. He was echoing earlier criticisms of the proposal by ranking member Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.).

Terry spoke briefly about the subject of the hearing, potential online "do not track" legislation, but reserved his most passionate statements for the FCC proposal.

Comparing it to the issue before him--online data tracking, he said: "I am actually more frustrated with the FCC," he said, "and the actions taken by the FCC chairman to usurp congressional power and authority in a new proposed order of regulating the Internet." He said that he took the timing of that order before the convening of a new Congress-where Republicans will take over control of the House--as a message "that they want to ram it down the public's throats before an opportunity comes for a different majority in the house."

He pointed out that though the order has been circulated among the commissioners, "we don't get to see it in Congress yet," he said, saying the committees and subcommittees with FCC oversight have been "cut out of the deal." Terry said it was his opinion that AT&T, for example, had agreed to the compromise under duress. "It was either you agree to this or we are really going to come after you."

The FCC proposal does not rely on reclassifying braodband under Title II, as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski had initially proposed. Cable and telcos including AT&T were strongly opposed to that, so were wiling to work on a compromise that supported network neutrality regs.

"The public not knowing what that order {is] of how to regulate the Internet, doing it under duress, making parties agree to things under threat, those are the type of tactics the public rejected on Nov. 2," he said. He called on the FCC to "stand down," a term increasingly used by Republicans.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) echoed Terry's concerns in his opening statement.