Cramer Questions Witnesses at Net Neutrality Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer made his first hearing appearance as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Communications and Technology subcommittee hearing examined draft legislation on net neutrality. Cramer cited his previous experience regulating the telecommunications industry as a North Dakota Public Service Commissioner, and questioned former FCC Chairman Michael Powell and other witnesses about the handling of “specialized services” within the draft legislation.
The debate over the nature of government involvement in regulating the internet has centered in recent years around the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s intent to implement net neutrality. The FCC formally launched a proceeding on May 15, 2014 to seek public comment on how to implement net neutrality rules. Today’s committee hearing examined a discussion draft of legislation proposed by the Energy and Commerce Committee, which would codify portions of net neutrality into law. The legislation stops short of reclassifying broadband providers as utilities, a move supported by the Obama Administration which would hamstring internet investment and innovation.
“Maintaining a free and open internet as a conduit for economic growth is a high priority for me and for the American people. With my background as a telecommunications regulator, this was a fitting topic for my first Energy and Commerce committee hearing. I will continue to be deeply engaged in the net neutrality debate as we move closer to finding a legislative solution which will preserve the internet as an engine of innovation,” said Cramer.
As a North Dakota Public Service Commissioner, Cramer penned an op-ed in the New York Times on net neutrality in 2009, when debate on the topic began to intensify.