Georgia Rep. Doug Collins is poised to introduce legislation when lawmakers return from recess next week that would block the Federal Communications Commission’s recently adopted net neutrality rules.
On Monday Collins will offer a resolution of disapproval under the seldom-used Congressional Review Act that would override the agency’s new internet regulations, which congressional Republicans say would stifle innovation and investment.
The FCC voted in February to reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier service, much in the same way the agency regulates telephone service.
The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to formally reject rules set by major federal agencies. These resolutions of disapproval require only a simple majority in both chambers—which means Senate Republicans could avoid a filibuster—but they still require presidential approval. That’s why all but one has failed to pass both chambers, according to The Hill.
Collins called his resolution, which will be dropped on the first day the House returns from recess, “the most direct way to rein in” the FCC.
“My resolution would be the most direct way to rein in an agency that refused these rules, which would stifle innovation and growth, before it finally surrendered to White House political pressure,” he said via his spokesman.
The Gainesville Republican said his district was already struggling with poor broadband and believed that the new FCC would siphon monies from infrastructure deployment instead to “lawyers, taxes, and fees.”
One of Collins’ largest contributors is National Cable & Telecommunications Association is a vocal opponent of net neutrality rules.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the trade group gave Collins $7,000 in the last cycle, the second-highest total it gave to any Georgia pol save for Democratic Rep. John Barrow, who also opposed net neutrality while in office.
The leadership pac for Jeb Bush, the primary vehicle through which the former Florida governor has been road testing a presidential campaign, announced this week it had contributed more than $117,000 to some two dozen congressional Republicans facing reelection next year, including two Georgians.
The pac gave U.S. Senator Isakson, who is seeking a third six-year term, and Augusta freshman Rep. Rick Allen each a cash injection of $5,400. The contribution covers both the primary, in which Isakson will face off with at least one (nominal) challenger, and the general election.
See the full list of pac recipients after the jump.
A pair of Georgia Republican congressmen have signed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm state bans on same-sex marriage when it hears four consolidated cases later this spring.
U.S. Reps. Jody Hice and Rick Allen, both freshman, joined nearly five dozen other congressional GOP lawmakers in a friend of the court filing arguing that state sovereignty supersedes federal interest in marriage.
“Amici believe that a judgment of this Court imposing a judicially mandated revision of state laws defining marriage would circumvent the proper resolution of these profound and divisive issues through state democratic process,” the brief, which was also signed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, reads. “Such a decision could damage the rights of a self-governing people. It would set an unwarranted precedent, with effects far beyond this case, of federal encroachment into a traditional area of state concern, and of judicial pre-emption of an area that the Constitution allots to democratic process.”
Georgia is one of 13 states with laws or state constitutional amendments that still outlaw same-sex nuptials. The Peach State’s ban, which Attorney General Sam Olens has vowed to continue defending, has been challenged in federal court, but is not one of the four–from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky–the high court will consider.
Spokespersons for both Hice and Allen did not immediately respond to emails by Tipsheet Monday.
The document was first reported by the Washington Blade. Read the filing and the full list of amici after the jump.
Legislation repealing a flawed reimbursement formula for doctors and other medical providers who treat Medicare patients sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support, falling just 37 votes shy of the complete chamber’s support.
Thirty-four of the dissenters were Republicans, and two of the no bloc represent conservative districts here in Georgia: Reps. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville and Tom Graves of Ranger.
The proposal, which is expected to be taken up by the Senate sometime next week, trashes a 1997 federal repayment formula known as the “standard growth rate” (SGR) that tied Medicare payments to increases in the economy.
As health care costs began outpacing economic growth, Congress was forced each year to temporarily override the SGR payment scheme. That dynamic, physicians groups said, left the medical community in limbo and risked an exodus from the Medicare program by health providers.
House Speaker John Boehner said the new Medicare blueprint, which would retire the harried annual “doc fix” tradition, would cost less than the current scheme, but outside conservative groups criticized the proposal as insolvement and said it would increase the national debt by $500 billion over the next two decades.
UPDATE, 4:45pm: Rep. Loudermilk, through his spokeswoman, said Friday afternoon that he appreciated the intent of the SGR repeal—“working to move away from the kick the can down the road style approach”—but could not support the new funding mechanism without more robust offsets. Read his statement in full below the jump:
Consideration of a controversial religious freedom bill was tabled in committee late Thursday in the state House after a non-discrimination amendment was adopted, leaving little hope the measure would see the floor for a full vote before the legislative session expires next week.
The legislative freeze came after Rep. Mike Jacobs introduced an amendment Thursday afternoon during a tense hours-long conference of the House Judiciary Committee that would have barred the bill from overriding local non-discrimination ordinances.
Supporters of the measure said the amendment, which passed on a vote of 9-8 in committee, would have neutered the bill.
The bill’s opponents, as it were, agreed with that assessment: the committee, led by RFRA supporters, voted to table the legislation after adoption of the Jacobs amendment, effectively shelving the bill as the session’s April 2 sunset approaches.
Rob Woodall was among 17 House Republican defectors who voted down Wednesday a leadership-backed budget resolution authored by fellow Georgian Tom Price.
To settle a dispute between fiscal and defense hawks over military funding, House GOP leadership brought a half-dozen competing budgets, including a pair by House GOP budget chief Price that varied only in the extent to which the Pentagon’s war fund was expanded, to the floor for votes last night.
Price’s amended blueprint, which would goose the war fund by $96 million instead of the $94 million with $20 million in offsets he originally proposed, came out on top with 228-109 vote split.
Woodall voted down that plan and instead backed the more austere blueprint drafted by the conservative Republican Study Committee, of which the Lawrenceville GOPer was most recently chair.
But the Woodall-backed conservative alternative, which zeroed out the deficit four years faster than Price’s spending model, failed with nearly as many Republicans voting against it (112) as for it (132).
A Woodall spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday when asked why the congressman did not vote for both the RSC and Price blueprints.
The other noes, which represent a mix of centrists and hardliners, after the jump:
Republican Rob Woodall was positively giddy Tuesday as the U.S. House moved forward with an unusual maneuver that would allow for a series of competing floor votes on alternate budgets.
The move stems from an argument between fiscal and defense hawks over how much to boost the Pentagon’s war defense fund.
In the first spending proposal offered by Georgia Tom Price, the chair of the House Budget Committee, the fund would see an increase of $94 billion next year while requiring $20 billion in offsets. Price later introduced a mirrored budget, dubbed Price 2, that would goose the war fund by $96 billion with zero offsets. Instead of the relevant committees anointing one bill over the other, both will move to the floor for a vote.
“I was looking around to see if folks were getting goose bumps as the reading clerk was reading the rule,” Woodall told The Hill. “I was, and I think if folks were honest with themselves, they’d be getting goose bumps too.”
Price’s bills are just two of the six that lawmakers will consider Wednesday. The other blueprints include those drafted by the conservative Republican Study Committee, House Democrats, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The measure with the most affirmative votes will be adopted as the final plan.
Woodall said he was unclear on which proposal would ultimately come out on top, but praised the strategy as inclusive of “every voice.”
“I don’t know where the votes are going to shake out, and I’m excited to find out,” the Lawrenceville GOPer said. “I don’t know which budget’s going to pass at the end of the day. But I know this: I know America will be the better for us having a process that includes absolutely every voice in this chamber.”
Woodall’s crystal ball may be cloudy, but House leadership is confident Price 2—in which the war fund will see a rise of $96 billion with no offsets—will adequately bridge the gap between the conference’s fiscal and defense hawks and earn the most affirmative votes.