What happens when a Congressman receives $25,500 from the telecom industry in the current election cycle? Look no further than House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky).
His plan released Tuesday proposes to slash the Federal Communications Commission’s budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, rate regulation and hey, while he’s at it, why not kill off that plan to boost competition in the set-top box market?
Our friends at OpenSecrets.org have the stats on his sweetheart contributions from the telecom industry, and arstechnica has some excellent reporting this week on how the Grand Old Party is running its own hustle to upend net neutrality even as a federal appeals court is expected to hand down a decision any day now that could dramatically impact the legality of the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
Rogers apparently has little interest in how affordable broadband could bring untold educational and small business opportunities to his constituents, which earn a median income of $29,675. That’s a far cry from how well Rogers has done. Members of Congress make $174,000 a year but many of them are wealthy even before being elected, according to OpenSecrets. Rogers’ attempt at thwarting a neutral net through an appropriations bill comes roughly two years after Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District (his home turf) came in dead last out of 434 districts evaluated in a “state of American well-being” report.
The survey, conducted by Gallup and Healthways, found that the region suffers from: “A steady decrease in health care access, along with rising obesity rates and a declining work environment, all contributed to a lower national well-being score,” according to The Atlantic.
The budget cuts and other restrictions proposed by Rogers are buried deep within the budget plan. Here’s what else arstechica had to say:
The changes, which begin on page 137 of a 259-page budget plan for fiscal year 2017, combine several tactics that Republicans have used in attempts to undermine the FCC’s regulatory plans. Republicans have previously proposed bills banning “rate regulation,” even though the FCC has made no move to set the rates charged by home Internet providers. The GOP proposals define rate regulation so broadly that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says they would prevent the FCC from enforcing key net neutrality provisions and disrupt its process for reviewing mergers.
Rogers’ position on net neutrality raises new questions about his level of empathy for constituents in his district, and who exactly Congressman Rogers works for.