The frontrunner in the race to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the next session of Congress has been trying to burnish his conservative credentials to secure the chairmanship, and his latest target is the Federal Communications Commission.
Amid speculation that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski might press for a vote on net neutrality rules at the commission’s Dec. 15 meeting, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) threw down the gauntlet, pledging that the chairman “will soon be a familiar face on Capitol Hill” as the committee he hopes to lead launches a rigorous oversight probe to rein in what some in the GOP view as a rogue agency.
“I hope that the only turkey cooking next week will be in our kitchens on Thanksgiving and not at the FCC,” Upton said in a statement. “Rather than poison the well before the new Congress is sworn in, I urge the FCC to stand down on any movement toward net neutrality and work together with the new majority when the 112th Congress convenes in January.”
The latest from Upton continues a streak of uncompromising rhetoric as he campaigns for the top spot on the powerful E&C committee. In a series of public comments that have come in a variety of forms over the past couple weeks, Upton has invoked the Founding Fathers, pledged to repeal Obamacare, pass legislation barring public funding for abortion and “shine the spotlight on its regulatory policies that have thus far been hiding in the dark.”
While it may not be entirely fair to say that the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding has been hiding in the dark, Upton is putting Genachowski on notice that his committee (assuming he wins the gavel) will make trouble for the chairman in the next session.
“The FCC’s regulatory compass must be broken as it continues in its unrelenting pursuit to impose so-called network neutrality regulations, regardless of whether the agency has the legal authority for such a blind power grab, and whether such regulations will actually undermine the FCC’s ability to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan. The FCC must stand down from pursuing a course unauthorized and opposed by Congress.”
Can’t wait for that first oversight hearing!