After President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to act on new net neutrality rules, Congressional Republicans quickly voiced opposition, cementing the the regulations as a partisan issue.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obama administration continues to disregard the people’s will and push for more mandates on our economy. An open, vibrant Internet is essential to a growing economy, and net neutrality is a textbook example of the kind of Washington regulations that destroy innovation and entrepreneurship,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in a statement Monday. “In the new Congress, Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme to regulate the Internet.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also expressed his disapproval of net neutrality regulations, arguing that the technology industry has grown thanks to the lack of regulation.
“The President’s decision today to abandon this successful approach in favor of more heavy-handed regulation that will stifle innovation and concentrate more power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats is a terrible idea,” he said in a Monday statement.
Both Boehner and McConnell mentioned in their statements that Republicans pushed the FCC to drop net neutrality regulations in May.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went so far as to compare net neutrality to Obamacare.
“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
Obama on Monday asked the FCC to finalize new rules that would keep broadband providers from cutting deals with sites like Netflix to offer faster service. Without regulations aimed at maintaining net neutrality, cable companies could start offering two different speeds of service, prioritizing companies that pay for speed.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday reiterated his support for net neutrality.
“Like the President, I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation, and economic growth. We both oppose Internet fast lanes. The Internet must not advantage some to the detriment of others,” Wheeler said in a statement.
A federal court struck down the FCC’s 2010 rules aimed at maintaining net neutrality, prompting the Commission to solicit comments on proposed rulemaking. Wheeler on Monday said that the FCC is not yet ready to propose new rules.
“The more deeply we examined the issues around the various legal options, the more it has become plain that there is more work to do,” Wheeler said, explaining that the FCC needs more time to make sure the rules are legally sound.