February 18-- Thursday the U.S House passed an amendment to H.R. 1 offered by Reps. Tom Graves (R-GA), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), which prohibits the Federal Communications Commission from using any funding for the rest of fiscal year 2011 to implement so-called “net neutrality” regulations. Rep. Graves gave the following remarks on the House floor prior to the vote:
Rep. Tom Graves, “Let’s make it simple. Government control means uniformity, regulations, fees, inspections, and yes, compliance. Think, just think, if those words had existed since the 1990s with the Internet. We wouldn't know one thing about broadband, let alone a ‘tweet.’
“The internet's free marketplace is defined by fierce competition, and that competition has transformed this world with innovation, investment, and what we need most of all right now—jobs. It's possible that the most intelligent and bipartisan policy that Washington has had thus far has been to leave the internet virtually untouched by the federal government and regulators. And, the result? Internet-based industries have flourished and employed a generation of Americans. So, let's be clear today: there is no ‘net neutrality’ crisis.
“The speed and depth of the internet as we know it today came from consumer choice and competition. Consumers have successfully picked those winners and losers, not government, and they've done it without the FCC's help. Imagine that. Consider the choice in rate plans, various points of access, and demand for openness and accessibility. A service provider that restricts access would do so at their own peril, and to the prosperity of their competitors.
“So after all the life-changing innovation, the ‘accidental billionaires,’ President Obama's revolutionary e-campaign, after all the ground breaking technology that has defined this age of the internet, we must ask that question: why? Why would unelected bureaucrats at the FCC want to take over and feel good about this internet takeover right now, with their new rules and policies—‘keeping things neutral’ being their claim?
“Let me tell you three words come to mind to me today and that is: ‘trojan horse virus.’ So Mr. Chairman, let's pass this amendment today and let's install some anti-virus protection for Americans and the Internet.”
Rep. Graves is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services, which has jurisdiction over funding the Federal Communications Commission.
After Reps. Graves and Walden introduced identical amendments, they banded together, along with Rep. Diaz Balart, under the Walden amendment, which passed the House.
Rep. Walden said, in a separate statement, “I want to commend Reps. Graves and Diaz-Balart for their commitment to protecting the internet from excessive government regulation. I appreciate their efforts to work with me to ensure the Communications and Technology Subcommittee has time to fully and permanently address this issue.”
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement or enforce the Report and Order of the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices (FCC 10-201, adopted by the Commission on December 21, 2010).”