House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today welcomed news that the Federal Communications Commission Chairman has finally agreed to remove the "Fairness Doctrine" and several related rules from the Code of Federal Regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his intentions to strike the unconstitutional limits on free speech in response to an inquiry made by Upton and Walden last week. Today, the members requested additional information on the process and timeline the agency would use to strike the offending language.
"We are heartened by your continued opposition to the Fairness Doctrine because of its chilling effects on free speech and the free flow of ideas," Upton and Walden wrote. "When precisely will you eliminate the Fairness Doctrine and related regulations? What is involved? Do you have the support of your fellow commissioners? How long will it take?"
In addition to the Fairness Doctrine, the FCC Chairman discussed the FCC's plans to eliminate additional antiquated regulations. Chairman Genachowski's letter noted that the FCC has "targeted 25 sets of unnecessary data collections for elimination" and that his staff were evaluating outdated regulations for deletion from federal law as part of the agency's effort to comply with the Obama administration's new regulatory policies, which were first explored by the Energy and Commerce Committee in January of this year. Upton and Walden's follow-up letter sent today prods the agency about its plans to identify and quickly eliminate regulations that are stifling job creation and harming innovation and economic growth.
"We are also pleased by your commitment in the letter to abide by President Obama's Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, even though it does not bind independent agencies such as the FCC. A thorough review of the Commission's regulations and the repeal of outdated rules will unleash private sector investment, spur growth and create jobs for the American people. Unfortunately, the path forward remains unclear. We have yet to see a plan from your agency on how it will implement the January 2011 order and begin eliminating other outmoded and economically harmful regulations. When will you begin eliminating other antiquated rules that stifle investment and harm innovation? What concrete steps will you take to reduce the burden on small businesses, who are today's primary engine for jobs growth? How many jobs will you create through your deregulatory efforts? Unnecessarily burdensome regulations are never appropriate, but eliminating them quickly is all the more important in light of the continued fiscal distress we find our country in," said Upton and Walden.