Q&A With Gus Hurwitz in Pacific Standard on Senate CRA Resolution Vote To Undo the FCC’s RIF Order
ICLE Scholar Professor Gus Hurwitz was interviewed in Pacific Standard about Wednesday’s Senate CRA resolution vote to undo the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order:
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats, joined by three Republicans and two Independents, voted to retain the 2015 net neutrality rules, according to Reuters. The vote is part of a legislative challenge to the new FCC regulations, made possible by the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to contest rules made by federal agencies. For Congress to prevent the net neutrality rule rollback, the House of Representatives will now have to pass the same resolution. The Republican-controlled House is unlikely to vote like the Senate on this issue, if they hold a vote at all. Additionally, a number of companies and 21 state attorneys general have brought legal challenges against the rule changes.
The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality in December. Why has it taken so long to go into effect?
After any piece of regulation gets voted on and adopted by a federal agency, it needs to go through a regulatory process, and it needs to be finalized and published in the Federal Register. And that process always takes a couple of months to get it to [the Office of Management and Budget] for a review, before it can be published in the Federal Register. And then it doesn’t go into effect for another month or so after it’s been published in the Federal Register.
The thing that some folks have recognized and raised a little fuss about—though I think it’s really a tempest in a teapot—is some of the elements of the 2017 order could have gone immediately into effect, but the order said that they weren’t going to go into effect until the rest of the order (that did need to go through this longer process) went into effect. The reclassification, which is a declaratory order—that can be implemented immediately. But the new transparency rule needs to go through the OMB and Federal Register process.