FCC's Wheeler Defends Net Neutrality Rules Process Before Skeptical House Panel
March 17, 2015 at 12:56 PM (PT)
FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to defend the process used in bringing the Net neutrality regulations to a vote, and while he claimed that the President did not send him "secret instructions" to develop the order, Republican members of the panel were skeptical of his protestations.
THE HILL reports that panel chair JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT) decried the FCC's "lack of transparency" and noted that WHEELER met with top WHITE HOUSE aides at least nine times during the process without disclosing that information to the public. WHEELER argued that the meetings did not contain anything that would trigger public notice and did not discuss the Net neutrality issue, to which CHAFFETZ responded, "We’re supposed to believe that one of the most important things the FCC has ever done, that this doesn’t come up?"
In his prepared remarks, WHEELER stressed the influence of "nearly four million Americans, who overwhelmingly spoke in favor of preserving a free and open Internet. He said that President OBAMA's NOVEMBER 10th YOUTUBE announcement of support for Title II regulation of ISPs "had an impact on the Open Internet debate, including at the FCC," but only to the extent that it gave what WHEELER claimed to already be considering "new prominence."