News Ticker

Advice for GOP: Play nice at FCC hearings

Chip Pickering, CEO, Comptel

Supporters of the FCC’s open Internet order offered some advice for Republicans. If they want to pass a bipartisan alternative to the order that the President will sign, take it easy on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler when he testifies before Congress over the next two weeks.

“If it turns into an intense partisan process to defund the FCC or a resolution of disapproval, I don’t think you would be able to get a bipartisan agreement [for a Congressional bill] or the President’s signature on any legislation,” said Chip Pickering, former GOP Congressman and CEO of trade association Comptel, during a press conference Monday.

Participants in the call, including representatives from Etsy and Tumblr, said supporters of the FCC’s order are not necessarily opposed to a Congressional solution, but they have yet to see a bill they like.

“The [bills] we’ve seen strip the FCC’s jurisdiction, defund the FCC, and attempt to strip them of their case-by-case authority,” said Ari Shahdadi, general counsel of Tumblr, who was also on the Comptel call. “Those approaches aren’t going to be effective. We’re happy to discuss, but we want to make sure [the FCC order] is the foundation.”

Wheeler begins his week on the Hill Tuesday before House oversight, followed by hearings before Senate and House commerce committees on Wednesday and Thursday.

“The chairman has a great opportunity at the hearings to redefine and rebrand what the order does and does not do,” Pickering said.