As Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his highly anticipated net neutrality proposal Wednesday, the buzz around Washington, D.C. was largely centered around the types of rules the agency is seeking to impose on Internet service providers. But one issue getting much less attention has to do with how the new rules are being created.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 20, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the subcommittee on communications, technology, innovation, and the Internet, blasted what he considers to be another end-around Congress.
“There are better ways to preserve a free and open Internet than by imposing utility-style regulations on service providers," Wicker said. "Such a proposal would negatively impact consumers and would stifle innovation in an industry that has been an economic engine for the past two decades."
“We have repeatedly asked the administration and the agency to work with us to develop a legislative solution. It is disappointing – but not unexpected – that they have chosen to go it alone yet again," Wicker added.
The FCC is an independent government agency, meaning it is outside of any certain branch, but is overseen by Congress with five commissioners appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, according to the White House's website.
House Republicans have countered the FCC's efforts by considering legislation that would ban Internet service providers from slowing or blocking consumers from any websites and eliminate paid prioritization of legal content or traffic. The GOP bill would also seek to halt the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission from acting on its own to create and enforce net neutrality rules.
Despite Republicans' efforts, Wheeler has presented his own plan, which the FCC commissioners will decide whether to approve on February 26.
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