The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

A Day of Uniform, Uninformed Activity

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


The "net neutrality" proponents are at it again, plotting to slog up the internet with a “Day of Action” on July 12, 2017.  Similar activity occurred in 2012 in response to legislation regarding online piracy.  Since that legislation was abandoned by Congress, these same agitators believe they will have success in shutting down the Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (WC Docket No. 17-108) currently in process at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by inundating the agency and Congress with a high volume of comments against the proposed rule. 

The protestors are clearly confused about the federal rulemaking process.  According to “A Guide to the Rulemaking Process,” published in 2011 by the Office of the Federal Register, “An agency is not permitted to base its final rule on the number of comments in support of the rule over those in opposition to it.  At the end of the process, the agency must base its reasoning and conclusions on the rulemaking record, consisting of the comments, scientific data, expert opinions, and facts accumulated during the pre-rule and proposed rule stages.”

Slamming Congress with a bunch of useless emails will only irritate staff, who will have to tell constituents that the matter currently resides at the FCC.  In addition, S. 993, the Restoring Internet Freedom Act, which has been introduced in the Senate, would achieve the same objective as the NPRM.  There is no bill that would “keep” net neutrality.

The Federal Register guide demonstrates that click-bait activities will not affect the outcome of the rulemaking process one way or the other.  If someone is truly interested in engaging in the comment period (which expires on July 17, with reply comments due by August 16), he or she should provide thoughtful comments addressing the proposed rule online at FCC.gov, with any additional supporting data or research.  Anything else is an abysmal waste of the taxpayers’ money. 

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