(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act. House Democrats passed the legislation with mostly partisan support. This legislation would allow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to have unprecedented control over the internet, including content moderation, new taxes and fees, and other new regulations which would stifle job growth and innovation.
LaMalfa said: “I believe in a free and open internet. Many of my Democrat colleagues claim that they do as well, yet the bill they passed today would accomplish the exact opposite. Let’s call it what it is: a blatant federal government takeover of the internet. It would have drastic consequences on American innovation. Under this plan, a panel of unelected bureaucrats will have nearly limitless authority to regulate, tax, and moderate content on the internet. The FCC would essentially have the ability to regulate the internet like it’s a 1930s phone company. This would be harmful to all Americans – especially those in rural areas with fewer options, where smaller ISPs will be unable to afford costly regulations and inevitably pass that cost onto consumers. This approach would stifle the already free and open internet, and I strongly oppose it.”
Under H.R. 1644:
- A panel of five unelected bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission—not the free market—would have unprecedented power to control the internet, including setting prices, moderating content, and imposing new regulations. This sort of centralized control would stifle American innovation, limit consumer choice, and put the U.S. at a global disadvantage.
- Rural communities would suffer most. Many rural areas are served by smaller Internet Service Providers, who cannot bear the costs of burdensome regulations in the same way as bigger companies. As a result, they would be forced to pass along added expenses to consumers, resulting in higher prices for worse service in rural communities. In addition, higher regulatory costs mean ISPs would no longer have revenue to continue investment in improving and expanding rural broadband infrastructure in underserved communities across America.
- Taxes and fees would go up. Democrats want to recategorize the Internet under current law so that home internet and phone data plans could both be taxed, just like a cable bill.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.