Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. I appreciate hearing from you.
On September 23, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a policy statement adopting four principles that would "encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public internet: and would entitle consumers to: (1) access lawful internet content of their choice; (2) run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; (3) connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network; and (4) enjoy the benefit of "the competition among network providers, application and service providers and content providers."
On April 26, 2006 the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, passed for consideration by the full House, H.R. 5252, the Communications, Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006 by a vote of 42 - 12. Included in the bill is a provision providing the FCC the authority to enforce the Policy Statement by addressing Individual complaints. I am an original co-sponsor of this legislation.
During consideration of the COPE Act, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) offered an amendment mandating that broadband network providers have certain duties, including the duty not to "block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to utilize their broadband service..." The amendment failed by a vote of 22-34 I voted against this amendment
During floor debate of H.R.5252, Congressman Markey introduce an amendment similar to his stand-alone legislation. This amendment failed by a vote of 152-269. I voted against the amendment. On Thursday, June 8, 2006, H.R. 5252 passed the House by a vote of 321 - 101. No further action on the legislation was taken.
H.R. 3458 was introduced in the 111th Congress by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) on July 31, 2009. The bill seeks to amend the Communications Act to ensure net neutrality, while calling for additional studies and summits on the issue. H.R. 3458 has been refereed to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
It is my belief that legislation mandating net neutrality restricts how the internet can be used for all consumers. In addition, I do not believe the Congress should act on the issue of net neutrality at this time. Any legislation at this time is premature and could potentially stifle innovation.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me in the future with any additional concerns.
Member of Congress