A Lame Duck Agenda — The FCC Act

courtesy ThomasHawk.com
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courtesy ThomasHawk.com

We have warned of the danger of a “lame duck” session of Congress, that the temptation to shove through much mischief would be hard to resist for some. And we have noted that much of what could be done in such a session would not be productive. But one item could be addressed, which would provide some certainty for employers and investors–the Congress could take up the “FCC Act.”

Earlier this fall Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced “The Freedom for Consumer Choice Act,” or simply, the FCC Act. This Act would require the FCC to prove that consumers are being harmed by an alleged lack of choice of service provider before the agency could move to impose new regulations. In addition, the FCC would be required to complete a real cost-benefit analysis, examining the cost of any imposed government rules against the benefits to be gained by those rules. Simply put, the FCC would have to demonstrate market failure, consumer harm, and that government could solve the alleged problem before it could move to act–a requirement of real data-driven analysis.


Government must stop getting in the way of progress, economic growth, and job creation, particularly when pursuing the ivory tower fantasies of a radical fringe. Sensible examination of a situation with focus on real problems and real results is what the American people believe should be happening, and it should. Absent this focus, then regulatory activity is nothing more than arbitrary rulemaking using the U.S. and its people as lab rats for ephemeral musings.

The FCC Act should be an easy political pursuit. With all 95 signers of the fringe group Free Press’s pledge (“I believe in protecting net neutrality–the First Amendment of the Internet”) losing in the mid-term election this week, it is clear that support of FCC power to control Internet network operations is a political loser.

The politics of the situation is clear and the economy is suffering. If Congress is itching to do something in a lame duck session then why not move to unleash capital, spurring jobs and furthering growth and innovation?

Today’s TechByte was written by Bartlett D. Cleland, Director of IPI Center for Technology Freedom.