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May 7, 2018

Democrats Misusing the Congressional Review Act to Re-Regulate the Internet

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 7, 2018

CONTACT: Erin Humiston, (972) 874-5139, or erin@ipi.org

 

DALLAS – The U.S. Senate will shortly face an attempt by Democrats to misuse the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to re-impose Title II regulations on internet service providers (ISPs).  And while this divisive, grandstanding approach will likely fail and even backfire, the ploy shows proponents’ determination to put the federal government back in charge of micromanaging the Internet.

In a new publication, “Misusing the Congressional Review Act to Re-Regulate the Internet,” Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) president Tom Giovanetti states the intent of the CRA is to overturn “new” regulations, not to restore them, and this manuever is contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the CRA.

“The CRA was created to give Congress a chance to give a thumbs up or down on new agency regulations,” said Giovanetti.  “So using it to restore oppressive federal Internet regulation is an abuse of the CRA process.”

But even worse, a Title II CRA would overturn the current order in which all Internet companies are under reasonably equal regulatory FCC and FTC obligations, and would instead create an unequal playing field illogically tilted to the biggest tech companies most likely to abuse their positions.

Furthermore, warns Giovanetti, the effort could backfire on its supporters. “The 2017 Order is composed of both an order and a transparency rule, and while CRA proponents dislike the order, they like the rule,” said Giovanetti. “Here’s the rub: A strict reading of the CRA legislation says that it can only be used to overturn a rule, not an adjudicated order. That means courts would likely find that the Order itself would survive a CRA challenge, but the rule would not.”

“If the American people think their internet experience requires some change in policy, the right path should be by legislation through congressional action,” said Giovanetti.

 

The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is an independent, nonprofit public policy organization based in Dallas. IPI experts are available for interview by contacting Erin Humiston at (972) 87405139, or erin@ipi.org. Copies of "Misusing the Congressional Review Act to Re-Regulate the Internet" are available at www.IPI.org. 

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