The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved bipartisan legislation written by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., to affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance.
The legislation (H.R. 1580), which was approved by voice vote, will promote a global Internet free from government control, the congressman said.
Last Congress, a similar measure unanimously passed the House and Senate. In light of continued international efforts to regulate the Internet, members voted Wednesday to make it official U.S policy, rather than merely a sense of the Congress.
“Let me be clear why we are here today: the continuing threat to the Internet is very real,” Walden said.
“Under the multi-stakeholder governance model, non-regulatory institutions manage and operate the Internet by developing best practices with public and private sector input. Governments’ hands-off approach has enabled the Internet to grow at an astonishing pace and become perhaps the most powerful engine of social and economic freedom and job creation the world has ever known,” he added.
Walden concluded, “By elevating this language from a resolution to U.S. policy, this bill will show our country’s resolve to oppose efforts by authoritarian regimes to subvert the Internet for their own purposes, and I hope to encourage other nations to join our cause.”
The bill was approved unanimously after Walden made changes to accommodate concerns from Democratic members of the committee.
At the markup, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.), the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Ca.), the Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, thanked Walden for his work to address their concerns.
Last week, the bill was approved by the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which Walden chairs. The next stop is a vote by the full House.
On April 10, Rep. Walden penned an op-ed in The Bulletin arguing that Congress must “walk the walk” on Internet freedom. Click here to read that op-ed.