(Senate - May 18, 2017)

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[Page S3023]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              THE INTERNET

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I don't have to tell colleagues how 
important the internet and other wireless technologies have been in our 
modern society. From the way students learn to the way we do business 
and even the way we as Senators keep in touch with our constituents, 
these advancements have in many ways fundamentally changed how we 
operate. It is important to remember that these groundbreaking 
technological advances didn't just come about because of government 
mandates or heavy-handed bureaucracy; they grew out of an environment 
that allowed for, and actually encouraged, innovation.
  From the Clinton years onward, there was a bipartisan consensus that 
we should maintain the kind of light regulatory touch that allows this 
innovation to thrive in the first place in order to open the door to 
further advancements.
  Unfortunately, that changed under the Obama administration, which 
used the FCC to force through antiquated regulations designed for an 
age of rotary phones and switchboards. Today, however, we finally have 
an FCC chairman who recognizes that we live in an entirely new era--an 
era of smartphones and laptops and other mobile devices. We have a 
chairman who believes that innovation, ingenuity, growth, and job 
creation aren't dirty words to be stifled with unnecessary redtape.
  Today, it is expected that Chairman Pai and Commissioner O'Rielly 
will take the first necessary step to address a deeply flawed Obama-era 
diktat that empowered bureaucrats with vast new powers to control the 
internet through archaic rotary telephone regulations from nearly a 
century ago. No matter how well intended, this overreach threatened the 
very innovation that brought us the internet and other technological 
advancements in the first place.
  I want to commend Chairman Pai for taking this preliminary step to 
address the issue, which will also open the door for bipartisan 
congressional action to keep the internet open for consumers 
permanently. Later today, Senator Thune and others will come to the 
floor to talk more about this issue. I look forward to hearing what 
they have to say and thank them for continuing this important