U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today welcomed the Federal Communications Commission's announcement that it is eliminating the Fairness Doctrine from the Code of Federal Regulations. Chairman Genachowski had previously set an August target to repeal the rule in response to a June 8 letter from Upton and Walden, and initially agreed to strike the Fairness Doctrine in response to a May 31 letter on the subject.
"The Fairness Doctrine is a relic of an earlier era when government officials thought they knew best what news and information the American people wanted and needed," said Upton and Walden. "The rules are outdated and needlessly endanger our sacred freedoms of speech and the press. The FCC has finally done what it should have done 20 years ago: It has scrapped the Fairness Doctrine once and for all."
The FCC Chairman also announced that the agency is striking 82 additional rules from agency's books and has committed to comply with the recent Executive Order on Regulation and Independent Agencies. Chairman Genachowski had previously stated that his staff was working with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in response to Upton and Walden's June 8 letter, but he had not yet agreed to complete a retrospective review plan and submit it to OIRA, as the President had required of executive agencies.
"We are pleased that the Commission has taken a step toward regulatory reform by striking obsolete rules from its books," said Upton and Walden. "And Chairman Genachowski has taken another step by promising to develop a plan for the review of existing regulations in compliance with the president's recent Executive Order. But real regulatory reform requires more--regulators should propose rules before adopting them, give the public adequate time to review those rules, and only adopt rules if the benefits outweigh the costs. The FCC has not always followed these best practices, and that's why we are moving forward on FCC process reform. Good government practices--transparent government practices--are a necessary ingredient for eliminating the regulatory overhang that deters the investment and job creation our economy so desperately needs."