By Amir Nasr
February 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm ET
The House subcommittee in charge of shaping telecommunications policy will let the Federal Communications Commission make the first move on rolling back net neutrality rules, the panel’s chairman said Wednesday.
“Let’s let the FCC go in and do what they are able to do, make the first move on that, and then we’ll be able to revisit that situation,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, head of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, told reporters at a briefing on Capitol Hill.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been outspoken about his opposition to the agency’s 2015 Open Internet order, which reclassified internet service providers as common carriers. He has not revealed specifics about how he plans to reverse the rules.
Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that once Pai takes whatever action that he sees fit for the FCC, lawmakers on Capitol Hill can move forward on some “principles” and “definitions” to “make certain that we don’t end up in the situation again where we had agency overreach.”
FCC overreach was a principle complaint of Republicans about the net neutrality rule, which commissioners passed on a party-line vote.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune has been in preliminary talks to strike a compromise with Senate Democrats on net neutrality legislation. The South Dakota Republican has said it’s one of his priorities for the 115th Congress, but it’s not clear whether Democrats are willing to work with him on this issue.
Blackburn, who hosted the briefing alongside Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), outlined other committee agenda items for the 115th Congress: