Throughout my tenure on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have worked to increase the deployment of telecommunications services to all American families and businesses. I have also fought to ensure that free speech and private innovation remain the hallmarks of this industry, while guaranteeing that our children are protected from online predators and indecent material.
Making Investments in Broadband Infrastructure
In the 21st century, Internet broadband infrastructure must be reliable and secure for everyone. Recently, the Energy and Commerce Committee reviewed six bipartisan proposals specifically aimed at improving broadband deployment meant for consumers across the country. I will continue to be a bipartisan leader to ensure that families and businesses right here in Southwest Michigan have the access they need to the Internet which remains the driving force of our 21st century economy.
Fighting for Internet Freedom
The Internet is perhaps the greatest engine of communication, innovation, and economic and personal freedom the world has ever known. Most Americans agree that a free and open Internet works and that it is not the responsibility of any government to regulate it. I have long been a leading opponent of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) implementation of so-called “network neutrality” rules, which gives the FCC new, unauthorized authority over the Internet. While the new rules create uncertainty for consumers, innovators, and job creators, I will continue to work on bipartisan solutions that keeps the Internet free and open for all. I will also continue to work to make the FCC more transparent, predictable, and fair.
As Congress acts to respond to growing online piracy and cyber security threats, it is paramount that Internet freedom and privacy remain protected. I was opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and was pleased that it did not move forward in either the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate.
As a leading champion of democracy and free markets, the United States also has a responsibility to oppose the efforts of authoritarian nations to control the Internet. I am proud to support the bipartisan Internet Freedom Bill (H.R. 1580), which makes it U.S. policy to preserve the long-standing multi-stakeholder governance model in which no one group – whether it be governments, corporations, or international organizations – determines how the Internet operates.
Freeing up additional electromagnetic spectrum is necessary to support the build-out of the next generation of wireless broadband networks. In 2012, I helped ensure that vital spectrum reform legislation was included as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. This Energy and Commerce legislation is a win for taxpayers, a win for consumers, and a win for the economy as well.
Keeping the Internet Tax-Free
I support keeping the Internet permanently free from all federal taxes. The absence of such taxes will help keep consumers’ high-speed and dial-up Internet rates low, while also protecting goods sold over the Internet from being unfairly singled out or double-taxed.
Permanently Eliminating the Fairness Doctrine
I am flatly opposed to any reinstatement of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” which would enable the federal government to limit and regulate political and other important content broadcasted over our public airwaves. Such a proposal is unconstitutional would endanger our sacred freedoms of speech and the press. I am pleased to report that my Energy and Commerce Committee was successful in pressuring the FCC to permanently strike this controversial regulation from its rulebook once and for all.
Digital Television (DTV) Transition
I helped oversee the successful transition from traditional analog television to digital broadcasting. The switch from analog to digital was one of the 9-11 Commission’s top recommendations in order to ensure that our emergency responders have the appropriate broadcast spectrum to communicate with each other in the event of a national catastrophe. This transition also provides American consumers with a dramatically higher quality of over-the-air programming and a greater number of programming options.