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Public Statements

Letter to Fred Upton, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Greg Walden, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology - Open Internet Rule

Today Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo, and the other Democratic members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee sent a letter to Chairman Fred Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden protesting their decision to deny members the opportunity to amend their legislation to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's open Internet rule. In the letter, the members state, "The process you propose would deprive members of one of their most fundamental rights: the right to offer amendments. We recognize there is disagreement about the role of the Commission with respect to the Internet, but we do not believe that justifies denying us the right to amend your legislation."

On March 1, Reps. Waxman and Eshoo requested a subcommittee hearing to discuss the views of stakeholders before convening a markup of the resolution. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

The full text of the letter is below and also available online here.

March 7, 2011

The Honorable Fred Upton
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Greg Walden
Chairman
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Upton and Chairman Walden:

Thank you for agreeing to our request for a legislative hearing on H.J. Res 37, a resolution disapproving the Federal Communications Commission's December 21, 2010, Open Internet Order. We commend you for providing the Committee an opportunity to hear from companies and organizations that would be affected by this legislation.

We continue, however, to have serious concerns about the process for Committee consideration of this legislation. We were advised last week that you will not allow votes on any amendments to H.J. Res 37. This is a major departure from the Committee's tradition of transparency and an extraordinary silencing of its members.

The process you propose would deprive members of one of their most fundamental rights: the right to offer amendments. We recognize there is disagreement about the role of the Commission with respect to the Internet, but we do not believe that justifies denying us the right to amend your legislation.

We recognize that H.J. Res. 37 is being brought before the Committee under the authority of the Congressional Review Act. We also understand that under this law, you have the power to deny us the ability to debate and vote on amendments. But the fact that you have this power does not make using it right.

If you are truly committed to proceeding fairly in this matter, there is another way to move forward. Instead of utilizing the Congressional Review Act, you could bring before the Committee a regular H.R. bill that overrules the Commission's Order. This bill would accomplish the same policy as H.J. Res. 37, but it would not preclude us from offering and debating amendments, thus remaining consistent with the traditions of open debate that are a hallmark of our Committee.

We urge you to continue the Committee on Energy and Commerce's long history of open debate by adhering to the tenets of regular order. We also stress the need for the Committee to resolve this matter and move forward with other pressing issues that require congressional action.

Thank you for your kind consideration of our request.

Sincerely,
Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
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Anna G. Eshoo
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
-
Edward J. Markey
Member of Congress
-
Michael F. Doyle
Member of Congress
-
Doris O. Matsui
Member of Congress
-
John Barrow
Member of Congress
-
Edolphus Towns
Member of Congress
-
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Member of Congress
-
Bobby L. Rush
Member of Congress
-
Diana DeGette
Member of Congress
-
John D. Dingell
Member of Congress


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