Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker and fellow Republican Robert McDowell are already voicing their opposition to FCC chairman Genachowski’s net neutrality proposal, set for a vote at the agency’s next meeting on December 21. The biggest complaint of the two commissioners is that the chairman is not putting the proposal out for public comment.
"I’m afraid we are endangering a really important agenda. . . by pushing forward with a partisan, big-government regulatory issue that has no immediate need for us to act," Baker told Politico earlier this week. "We’re still in our preliminary assessment as to what it says, what it does, what the implications are, which is another reason why McDowell and I say it should be put out for comment," Baker said. "For something this major, we’re trying to figure out what the implications are."
On Monday, Baker’s staff discussed ways to express her criticism of the Net neutrality plan. Baker may write several op-ed pieces in the two weeks leading up to the agency’s meeting and find ways to reach out to media.
A senior (unnamed) FCC official told Politico that "the draft order was circulated to all of the commissioners a full three weeks in advance of the vote, a courtesy that Chairman Genachowski has consistently extended. I’m sure that Commissioner Baker can appreciate hard-working FCC staff burning the midnight oil—that’s exactly what it took to get a draft order circulated. We are particularly perplexed by Commissioner Baker’s call for yet more time, given that it took her less than 24 hours to read the order and publicly declare her flat opposition to the proposal."
Meanwhile, McDowell is also working on a strategy to express his concerns about the latest proposal.
"Commissioner McDowell has been speaking and writing about net neutrality issues for several years now – beginning with his dissent on the ‘open access’ component in the 700 MHz Order in July 2007," said Angela Giancarlo, McDowell’s chief of staff and senior legal advisor. "It’s a safe bet that he will continue to do so."