Let's Save the Internet—From Government Control
WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) gave remarks at yesterday's House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology markup of H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act of 2019. Whip Scalise questioned why the internet needed federal government intervention and stressed the damage government control would cause by stifling American technological innovation and giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) new power to set taxes and fees on internet service.
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"Everybody here today can agree that the internet has made immeasurable impacts in our lives in a positive way over the last few decades. That is why we’re here today because the internet and the technology policy behind it really does matter.
"Unfortunately, today’s proposal takes us down the wrong path. When I was in school majoring in computer science, when I would do my homework we actually had textbooks back then. When I had to write a program, I would have to go to a computer lab and there would be a computer that was about half the size of this room. I would have to wait sometimes hours to get the results when I would run a program.
"Today, this [smart phone] has more technological capabilities and power than that big room that needed an air condition unit just to keep the computer cool. I say that to make it very clear, that change, that dramatic shift in technological capabilities happened with billions of dollars of private investment. When we went to 2G, 3G technology, then 4G technology, now we’re working towards 5G technology, that’s the private sector investing billions of dollars to continue to have a free internet. It’s free today, by the way, today the internet is free without the government being involved.
"But the digital transformation that has happened is precisely because the heavy hand of the federal government has stayed out of the way. This happened because the government hadn’t figured out how to regulate the internet, so it allowed this great technological capability that's created the United States as the world leader. We dominate the world in technology without this heavy hand of government approach that you see today.
"I’m disappointed that we are considering this proposal, which like so many other things like the Green New Deal, plans to have more government control over our everyday lives. This today is about government control versus individual freedom. This legislation is a dangerous power shift towards bureaucrats in Washington. It will raise cost for consumers and hamper future innovations online. Under this big brother, heavy-handed approach to regulating the internet, the Federal Communications Commission, an unelected group of bureaucrats, would have nearly unlimited authority to micromanage the internet and that includes raising new fees and taxes on the internet. Again, government can tax the internet under this bill, which is currently free.
"What, I ask you, is so broken about the internet that you need the federal government to come in and fix it? We simply do not need the federal government to come in and fix what is not broken with the free and open internet that we enjoy today without government regulation."