A group of House Republicans is challenging the Biden administration’s recent rules on “digital discrimination,” arguing that these regulations amount to an overreach of federal authority over the Internet. Spearheaded by Georgia’s Republican Representatives Buddy Carter and Andrew Clyde, a total of 65 Republican members of the House have endorsed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) aimed at overturning the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) newly introduced digital equity regulations.
The new regulations from the FCC, initiated under President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and implemented this month, are designed to ensure equitable access to broadband services without bias towards an individual’s income, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin. House Republicans, on the other hand, contend that these measures grant disproportionate control to regulators, which they believe could stifle technological innovation, impose additional costs on consumers, and potentially lead to censorship issues.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows legislators to oppose administrative regulations formally. Opponents of the FCC’s rules package are concerned that it could unintentionally expand the “digital divide,” intensifying disparities in access to digital resources. House Republicans maintain that the FCC’s regulations are not in line with constitutional guidelines and detract from the tenets of free-market capitalism.
Multiple independent organizations, such as Heritage Action for America, Americans for Tax Reform, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), and Americans for Prosperity, have lent their support to the Republican resolution, voicing worries about excessive government intervention and its potential adverse effects on the rollout of broadband services and market choices.
Commissioner Brendan Carr of the FCC has criticized the digital discrimination rules as a significant government power grab, giving the Administrative State control over internet services and infrastructure. Carr argues that the regulations proposed by President Biden would grant the federal government extensive control over various aspects of the Internet, including ISPs’ operations, capital allocation, consumer services, profits, marketing, and more.
The House Republicans’ CRA resolution is expected to be filed soon, but it must pass both the House and the Democrat-controlled Senate before reaching President Biden’s desk. The White House and the FCC have not yet commented on the resolution.
In conclusion, House Republicans are challenging the Biden administration’s digital discrimination rules, alleging that they represent an unconstitutional power grab by the federal government. Critics fear that these rules may widen the digital divide and impede innovation. The resolution of disapproval under the CRA is a significant step in opposing these regulations, but its success depends on passing through the House and Senate.