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Carter, Clyde Challenge FCC’s “Digital Discrimination” Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representatives Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-GA) and Andrew Clyde (R-GA) led 65 House Republicans in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) new "digital discrimination" rule.

On November 15th, 2023, the FCC finalized a new rule to “prevent digital discrimination of access to broadband services.” The rule hands the Biden administration’s bureaucratic state effective control of all internet services and infrastructure in the U.S. – giving the FCC unchecked unconstitutional authority to implement regulations restricting every aspect of the telecommunications industry.

“Yet again, the Biden administration is attempting to push its ideology through heavy-handed government controls,” said Rep. Carter. “This time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to enact widespread regulations on every aspect of our internet’s functionality. This FCC ‘Digital Discrimination’ rule will undoubtedly widen the digital divide by stifling future investment in broadband deployments. Not only is it unconstitutional, but it goes against the very core of free market capitalism. Congress must block the FCC’s totalitarian overreach.”

“Under the guise of ‘equity,’ the Biden Administration is attempting to radically expand the federal government’s control of all internet services and infrastructure,” said Rep. Clyde. “The FCC’s so-called ‘digital discrimination’ rule hands bureaucrats unmitigated regulatory authority that will undoubtedly impede innovation, burden consumers, and generate censorship concerns. Given the Biden Administration’s long history of weaponizing agencies against the American people, Congress should not let this unconstitutional power grab go unchecked.”

Original cosponsors include: Representatives Mark Amodei (NV-02), Brian Babin (TX-36), Jim Baird (IN-04), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Andy Barr (KY-06), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Mike Bost (IL-12), Josh Brecheen (OK-02), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Kat Cammack (FL-03), Mike Carey (OH-15), Michael Cloud (TX-27), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), John Curtis (UT-03), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Neal Dunn (FL-02), Chuck Edwards (NC-11), Mike Ezell (MS-04), Pat Fallon (TX-04), Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Scott Franklin (FL-18), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Bob Good (VA-05), Paul Gosar (AZ-09), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Harriet Hageman (WY-At-Large), Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Richard Hudson (NC-09), John Joyce (PA-13), Trent Kelly (MS-01), David Kustoff (TN-08), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Jake LaTurner (KS-02), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Rich McCormick (GA-06), Dan Meuser (PA-09), Mary Miller (IL-15), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), John Moolenaar (MI-02), Troy Nehls (TX-22), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Jay Obernolte (CA-23), Andy Ogles (TN-05), Gary Palmer (AL-06), Greg Pence (IN-06), Scott Perry (PA-10), August Pfluger (TX-11), Bill Posey (FL-08), John Rose (TN-06), Chip Roy (TX-21), John Rutherford (FL-05), Keith Self (TX-03), Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), William Timmons (SC-04), Tim Walberg (MI-05), Randy Weber (TX-14), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Roger Williams (TX-25).

Supporting organizations include Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), Citizens for Renewing America, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Consumer Choice Center, Digital First Project, Heritage Action for America, R Street Institute, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and USTelecom.

“The FCC's digital discrimination rule is nothing more than a distraction that will delay and increase costs for deploying broadband around the country. The CRA serves as a reminder that the FCC should be focusing on its mission to close the digital divide, not promoting a political wish list agenda for an out of touch administration.” – James Czerniawski, Senior Policy Analyst, Tech and Innovation, Americans for Prosperity

“This week, Congress has an opportunity to reverse the FCC’s takeover of the internet. Late last year, the FCC voted along party lines to give itself veto power over almost every decision an ISP can make. Under the fig leaf of ‘equity,’ Chairwoman Rosenworcel and her staff have empowered activists to shake down any telecommunications company that tries to expand broadband to unserved areas. As they enrich their activist friends through lawfare, the FCC will also mandate racial discrimination to meet quotas for broadband service. This was not the goal of the infrastructure bill that authorized this rulemaking. Thanks to Congressman Clyde and Congressman Carter’s leadership, Congress can now restore power to consumers and their elected representatives by repealing this intrusive rule. Congress made clear that this rulemaking was not what they had in mind when they wrote the infrastructure bill, so this order puts the FCC on a collision course with the Supreme Court over major questions. We thank Congressman Clyde and Congressman Carter for leading this effort and urge all members to support the CRA on digital discrimination.” – Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

“The federal government is becoming increasingly woke and weaponized against the American people. Efforts by Rep. Clyde, with regard to the Digital Equity Rule, are an important front in the battle to protect the rights of Americans and provide reliable access to the public square of the 21st century by preventing an expansion of the stranglehold the radical left would like to impose on how the internet operates. This is indeed a slippery slope that will be abused by the government in a variety of ways, some of which we may not even be able to conceive of yet.” – Wade Miller, Executive Director, Citizens for Renewing America

“The dictates of central planning the FCC granted itself without Congressional authorization are bad news for consumers. Not only will the FCC’s plan become too burdensome and costly, but it also fails to reflect the reality of next generation satellite internet, mobile Wi-Fi, 5G and more that are meeting Americans’ needs today. The Consumer Choice Center applauds Representative Clyde and Representative Carter for standing against this bureaucratic overreach from the FCC and the Executive Branch. The Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval will help cut through the red tape that is distracting the FCC from what it should be focusing on, such as streamlining broadband buildouts in unserved areas throughout the country to help consumers.” – Elizabeth Hicks, U.S. Affairs Analyst, Consumer Choice Center

“The Biden FCC's Digital Equity Order transformed the agency into the Ministry of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We applaud this CRA as an important step to reign in this draconian government overreach that will hamstring the entire internet ecosystem.” – Nathan Leamer, Executive Director, Digital First Project

“We know this administration can’t be trusted with more power to target Americans who refuse to comply with their Left-wing ideology. The FCC’s ‘digital discrimination’ rule would be a massive expansion of federal power over something that impacts the daily lives of almost every person in our country—the internet. Biden’s radical administration will inevitably use this power to silence conservatives, limit freedom of speech, and censor information available to Americans. The Clyde/Carter resolution stops this unconstitutional power grab.” – Ryan Walker, Executive Vice President, Heritage Action

“The R Street Institute is pleased to endorse Rep. Clyde and Rep. Carter’s Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Digital Discrimination Order. We have expressed concerns that the breadth and scope of the FCC’s rulemaking far exceeded congressional intent in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC’s rule will have a chilling effect on future broadband investment and create uncertainty that will only exacerbate the digital divide. This Congressional Review Act resolution shows that Congress recognizes the overreach of this rule, and, if enacted, would prevent the same or a substantially similar rule from being implemented in the future.” – Jonathan Cannon, Policy Counsel for Technology and Innovation, R Street Institute

“TPA is happy to support Reps. Clyde and Carter’s CRA of the FCC’s order on digital discrimination. The order represents a massive extension of government power into broadband networks and is a solution in search of a problem. Notably, embracing a disparate impact standard, which ignores a vast number of economic factors that shape market decisions, will inevitably result in regulators telling companies to alter their policies based on the race of their customers. We encourage all members to support Reps. Clyde and Carter’s CRA and hold the FCC accountable for this unnecessary proposal.” – David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s unlawful rulemaking that gives itself sweeping authority over nearly every aspect of the broadband marketplace. This ‘digital discrimination rule’ will not only stifle the broadband investment and innovation necessary to expand broadband access, but it is also counterproductive to other government initiatives to close the digital divide. We urge swift action on this legislation.” – U.S. Chamber of Commerce



The FCC’s “digital discrimination” rule represents the Biden administration’s implementation of Section 60506 of the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” which allocated $65 billion to expand broadband access and required the FCC to adopt final rules to “facilitate equal access to broadband government.”

The rule defines “digital discrimination” as “policies or practices, not justified by genuine issues of technical or economic feasibility, that (1) differentially impact consumers’ access to broadband internet access service based on their income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion or national origin, or (2) are intended to have such differential impact.”

Yet, this rule goes well beyond addressing alleged discriminatory intent within the telecommunications industry. Rather, it dangerously gives the FCC unchecked unconstitutional authority to implement regulations restricting every aspect of the telecommunications industry, including regulations restricting speed, capacities, latency, data caps, throttling, pricing, promotional rates, imposition of late fees, and even an internet service provider’s profitability.

Furthermore, the rule expands the FCC’s authority to industries outside of telecommunications to include any industry that could stifle its expansive definition of “digital discrimination,” including landlords, construction crews, marketing agencies, banks, retail stores, etc. All of these industries could now be regulated by the FCC for any “act or omission that the agency determines has an impermissible impact on a consumer’s access to broadband.”

Read Fox News’ exclusive on the legislation here.

Read the full bill text here.