House Energy and
Commerce Committee Passes Internet Governance Bill (H.R. 1580)
April 17, 2013
The House Energy and Commerce Committee 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. Last Congress, a similar measure
unanimously passed the House and Senate. In light of continued
international efforts to regulate the Internet, members voted today 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,” Rep. 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,” Rep. Walden continued.
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 Rep. 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 Rep. Walden for
his work to address their concerns.
Last week, the bill was approved by the Subcommittee on Communications
and Technology, which Rep. Walden chairs. The next stop is a vote by the
entire U.S. House of Representatives.