2013 July

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Proposes Common Sense Reforms for the E-Rate Program

Posted by | Broadband Internet | No Comments

“American students should not have to wait for digital opportunities while funds contributed by their parents sit in a Washington account and FCC proceedings languish. We can and must do better.”

Today FCC Commissioner Pai proposed common sense reforms for the agency’s E-Rate program, which will also be addressed in a Senate hearing tomorrow. The FCC disburses $2 billion every year through this program to connect schools and libraries to digital communications networks.

Commissioner Pai noted that the E-Rate program has successfully increased broadband Internet access in schools and libraries since its inception. Like all government programs, however, the E-Rate program is also subject to the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse. This potential has manifested itself in the E-Rate program as unnecessary delay and complexity, misplaced priorities, and poor incentives. Read More

DoD Asks the FCC to Enhance Its Contractual Leverage Through Regulatory Fiat

Posted by | Broadband Internet | One Comment

“In today’s globally competitive era, the United States cannot continue to delay its transition to Internet-enabled infrastructure.”

Last week the Department of Defense (DoD) filed comments with the FCC in its proceeding examining the transition from outdated telephone technologies to Internet Protocol (the “IP-transition”). The comments, which were filed “on behalf of the consumer interests” of the DoD by a civilian attorney in the Army’s Regulatory Law Office (emphasis added), ask the FCC to “consider potential adverse consequences on public safety and national security” of requiring federal agencies to “prematurely transition to different technologies.”

What are these potential adverse consequences? The italicized “interests” of the DoD provide the answer: It wants to avoid incurring any costs to upgrade its outdated telephone technologies to modern, Internet Protocol technologies when its current communications contracts expire in 2017. Read More

The Supreme Court Should Stay Lawlessness at the NLRB

Posted by | Regulatory State, Uncategorized | No Comments

Today, Cablevision asked the Supreme Court to stay the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) pending trial against the company. The NLRB intends to try its complaint against Cablevision next week despite a Federal Court of Appeals decision holding that the NLRB currently has no legal authority to act.

The NLRB lacks authority to act because President Barack Obama appointed a majority of its members on January 4, 2012, during an intra-session break in the Senate’s ordinary business. The President asserted that this break was a “recess” pursuant to the Recess Appointments Clause of the Constitution, which empowers the President to make appointments during “the Recess” without Senate approval. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the Recess Clause applies only to a recess between Senate sessions: “The appointments structure would have been turned upside down if the President could make appointments any time the Senate so much as broke for lunch.” Read More

Senator Rubio Is Right On Immigration

Posted by | Regulatory State | No Comments

Senator Marco Rubio is right on immigration. In his remarks regarding the immigration bill passed by the Senate last week, Rubio noted that immigration is an American story.

For over two hundred years now, they have come. . . . From Ireland and Poland, from Germany and France. From Mexico and Cuba, they have come. They have come because in the land of their birth, their dreams were bigger than their opportunities.

As Jack Kemp so famously said, “We are a nation of immigrants.” From the Native Americans who crossed the land bridge over what is now the Bering Strait to the apex of European immigration in the early 20th Century (when 13.5 million immigrants were living in the United States), America has always been the land of opportunity. Read More