Less than a month after the Federal Communications Commission approved controversial net-neutrality regulations, congressional Republicans are looking to overhaul the agency's budget and procedures.
GOP lawmakers don't say their planned legislation is revenge for the Internet regulations that they despise. But the FCC's questionable handling of net neutrality is a good example of why Congress should take a comprehensive look at how the agency does business, they argue.
Draft legislation floated by Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, would flatline the FCC's budget (despite its request for a major increase) and would remove the FCC chairman's ability to hire or fire the agency's inspector general. It would also cap the size of the Universal Service Fund—the agency's subsidy for phone and Internet service—and would subject the fund to the regular congressional appropriations process.
"It's becoming more and more evident to me that this is an agency that is overreaching with its regulatory and spending authority, and one way to stanch the bleeding is to get back to basics: being accountable to the authorizing and appropriating committees of Congress," Walden said in a speech Thursday at conference hosted by the Free State Foundation, a conservative think tank.