Partisan Politics Strike the FCC

  • Post category:Blog

The same anti-Trump, anti-Republican fervor that has defined Democrats since the last presidential election seems to be increasingly infecting the Federal Communications Commission and its Chairman, Ajit Pai.
A recent letter from Ranking Democrats Frank Pallone (NJ) and Mike Doyle (PA) to Republican Committee Chairs Greg Walden (OR) and Marsha Blackburn (TN) attacked Chairman Pai for consistently failing to answer Democrat questions, and becoming, “less transparent with the legislative branch, altogether frustrating any attempt at our Constitutional responsibility to oversee the agency on behalf of the American people. The Commission must be brought before the Committee to account for its repeated and willful evasiveness.”
These accusations follow a “Joint Resolution” – passed only by the Senate, with all Democrat Senators joined by three Republicans for a slim 52-47 margin – disapproving “the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ . . . and such rule shall have no force or effect.” Unfortunately for Democrats, the House of Representatives did not join the Senate in this “joint” resolution, so it is the Senate’s condemnation of this order that will have no permanent effect.
Rather than consider this resolution, House Republicans Walden and Blackburn criticized the Senate Democrats for trying to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. “The future of the internet,” they said, “should be driven by. . . innovation, American entrepreneurship, and a light touch regulatory framework. A vote for the CRA was a vote to subject the internet to 1930s-era regulation. . . What we saw today demonstrates that Senate Democrats are only interested in scoring political points.”
They pointed out that since 2015, Republicans have made “repeated efforts to push for a bipartisan compromise.” But “on the Senate floor, Senate Democrats objected to amendment and consideration of (such a) draft bill.”
Apparently, the FCC will now be actively subjected to the same sort of obstructionist tactics that have plagued so many other attempts to move us forward.