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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  March 21, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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to engage people. we all have family members. i said it once, i've said it three times, these are the people next to us, these are our family members. he talked about his son having three jobs. i remember going to construction site leaving at 3:30 a.m. and then going to the next job after that. we want to be part of the community, the best way to do that is involve people in the process. host: delegate mccray. thank you for joining us. guest: thank you for having me.
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president obama, you may remember earlier this month declared venezuela national security threat. find out why, and the reasons leading up to it. tomorrow's "washington journal" starts at 7:00 a.m.. see you then. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> next, the chair of the fcc, tom wheeler, anna house hearing -- on a house hearing. then deputy secretary of state blinken.
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later, defense secretary ashton carter on isis and other security issues. the chair of the fcc, tom wheeler, testified at a house oversight hearing on tuesday on a recent open internet vote. it is that he was pressured into changing his stance on net neutrality. last month of vote approved new rules to prohibit internet providers from blocking or discriminating against content moving through their network. this is two hours and 45 minutes. representative chaffertz: good morning. we are here today to the examined the fcc commitment to transparency. three weeks ago, the fcc approved new rules that will directly increase the regulation of the internet. the problem is americans only got the chance to read the last week. last month, tom wheeler said
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that it ran contrary to quote decades of precedent. in reality, it is far less transparent than what occurred in the equally controversy all media over s ownershi role into thousand seven. then, senator oba quote strongly requested that the fcc -- he believed to do otherwise would be quote irresponsible. chairman kevin martin responded by releasing a draft of the rules. in making the text public, he said because of the intensely controversial nature of the
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proceedings, and his desire for an open and transparent process he was to ensure that members of congress have the ability to review it. this does did not happen in this case. se. to say there is no precedent for this is just not true. we invited commissioner wheeler to come before us and he refused. he did not have any problem media the white house. but he did have a problem coming before congress. today, chairman wheeler did quite the opposite. he failed to provide this transparency. he did not make the rule public, declined to appear before this committee. we find it hol wholly an acceptable. i want to put up a slide, we will refer to this later. there are several reactions to comments that were made toe, to
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request made. we have that side. i guess not. i will keep going. organizations that hold our government accountable depend on the process. the fcc's track record in responding to for your request is weak at best. at the offset, it denies 40% of all requests. the documents that the fcc does produce has a number of reductions, including some that blackout entire pages of text. the committee has received documents that were previously blacked out. today, we will discuss these communications and why they were prevented from being comincoming public.
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including title ii. it made to as 14, the fcc released a notice that indicated broadband and mobile services would remain classified under title i. alex statements made by chairman wheeler and communications received by this committee indicate that this was during that time. . media reports indicate that chairman wheeler took a hybrid approach. just days later, president obama appeared in a youtube video calling for a radically different proposal. e-mails, provided that this came
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as a surprise to the sec staff including chairman wheeler. chairman wheeler announced that they would radically recourse. they were not made in fully changing this to title ii. the fcc adopted the rule change in a three-to vote. the lack of transparency surrounding the open rulemaking process leads us to a lot of questions. this is a fact-finding hearing. this committee remains committed to full transparency across government. i look forward to hearing more from go chairman wheeler. i recognize the ranking member mr. cummings for five minutes. representative cummings: we are here to discuss net neutrality that was adopted last month by the fcc.
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there are strong opinions on all sides of the issue, no doubt about it. on one hand, internet serveice providers, including comcast at&t, verizon, and time warner opposed the rule and lobbied against it. they argued that additional regulation would increase fees reduce investments, slow network upgrades and reduce competition and innovation. on the other hand, supporters of this new rule contend that isps should not be allowed to discriminate based on content. they believe isps should be required to act like phone companies. controlling the pipes that make up the internet, but not what flows through them. consumers, social media entities, and companies like facebook, netflix, and google
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favor open internet policy because they do not want to be charged higher prices to provide their services. the question before the committee is not which policy we may prefer. but whether the process used by the fcc to adopt the rule was appropriate. republicans who oppose the new rule alleged that president obama exerted undue influence on the process. we have seen no evidence to support this allegation. instead, the evidence before the committee indicates that the process was thorough follow the appropriate guidelines, and benefited from a record number of public comments. i welcome chairman wheeler here today to discuss the process used by the fcc. i would like to make several points for the record.
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first, the fcc received more comments on this rule than any other rule in its history. that is indeed very significant. as i understand it, the fcc received about four million comments. this grassroots movement was highlighted when john oliver, a popular late-night talkshow host encouraged his viewers to go on the fcc website to comment on the proposed rules. the number of comments was also extremely high because the sec established a 60 day comment. . period twice. in addition, the president has a right to express his position on proposed rules. he did so in this case. in november, he made remarks in
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support of an open internet rule. arguing that it is "essential to the american economy." he said, the fcc "should create a new set of rules, protect net neutrality, and ensure that neither the cable company or phone company acts as the gatekeeper for, restricting what you can do or see online." when he gave the speech, he also ensure that his office submitted the appropriate -- i national committee is tasked on policy matters. the president routinely makes his position known to agencies contending pending rules. president reagan george h w
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bush, clinton, and george w. bush all expressed opinions on sec regulations during their presidencies. in fact, for this neutrality rule, there were more than 750 filings from individuals, public interest groups, lobbyists corporations, and elected officials. all of whom had an opportunity to make their views known. finally, the committee will examine the actions of chairman wheeler in his communications with supporters of the roule. we must also examine the actions of o'reilly, and others who oppose the rule. multiple press accounts report that they have been working with republicans on and off capitol hill to affect the fcc's work and we should remview their
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actions with the same level of scrutiny. chairman wheeler, i would like to thank you again for appearing before a hearing today and i look forward to your testimony. with that, i yield back. representative chaffertz: i hold the record open for five legislative days. i will now recognized the witness. the honorable thomas wheeler, we welcome you here and i'm glad you could join us. if you would please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you will give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you. we appreciate it. in order to allow time for discussion, we normally are allo ask a testimony to be limited to five minutes. we are very forgiving on this
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and we would appreciate your verbal comments. your entire written statement will be part of the written record. mr. wheeler. chairman wheeler: thank you very much mr. chairman. members of the committee, i will take that hint and try and skip through early paragraphs. i'm proud of the process that the commission ran to develop the open internet order. it was one of the most open and transparent in commission history. and the public participation was unprecedented. last april, i circulated a draft, that included a set of open internet protections, and also asked questions about the best way to achieve an open internet. the open internet nprm, adopted in may, proposed a solution based on section 706 do the calculations act of 1996.
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it also asked whether title ii of the act of 1934 would be a better solution. a quick point on procedures. while historically some nprms just ask questions, during my chairmanship, i made it a policy to present draft nprm's to my colleagues at the means to fight for attention. i believe this is an important part of an open and transparent rulemaking process. let's be clear. the proposal is tentative. not a final conclusion. the purpose of the comment period is to fully task that concept. it worked in the desired way to focus the debate. the process was one of the most open and expensive processes in the fcc has ever run. we heard from startups, isps, a series of public roundtables.
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as mr. cummings mentioned, we heard from 750 different asked partes. over 140 members of congress. from the administration, both in president obama's very public statement, as in formal submission. here, i would like to be very clear, there were no secret instructions from the white house. i did not, as ceo of an independent agency, feel obligated to follow the president's recommendation. but i did feel obligated to treat it with the respect that it deserves just as i have treated with similar respect the input both pro and con from 140 senators and representatives. most significantly, we have heard from 4 million americans. we listened and learned throughout this entire process. we made our decision based on a tremendous public record.
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my initial proposal was to reinstate the 2010 rules. the tentative conclusion put forth suggested that the fcc could ensure internet openness by applying a commercial reasonableness test. under section 706, to determine appropriate behavior of isps. if discontinued, i listened to countless consumers and innovators around the country. i also reviewed submissions and became concerned that the relatively untested commercially reasonable standard might be interpreted to mean that what was reasonable for isps, commercial arrangements, not what was reasonable for consumers. that would be the wrong conclusion. it was an outcome that was unacceptable. that is why over the summer i
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began exploring how to utilize title ii and established just and reasonable standards. as previously indicated, this was an approach in which we have sought comment in the nprn. i have specifically spoken saying all approaches entitled -- two title ii were under consideration. you were asked whether there was the instruction from the white house. again, the answer is no. the question becomes whether the , president's announcement on november 10 had an impact on the open internet debate, including the fcc. of course it did. the push for title ii had been hard and continuous from democratic members of congress. the president weighing into support the position gave the whole title ii issue new prominence. of course, we had been working on a approaches to title ii, including combined title ii
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section 706 solution for some time. the presidents focus on title ii put wind in the sails of everyone looking for strong open internet protection. it also encouraged those who had been opposing any government involvement do for the first time, support legislation with rules. as i considered title ii, it became apparent that rather than being a monolith, it was a very fluid concept. the record contained multiple approaches to the use of title ii. one of those was the title ii section 706 hybrid approach that bifurcated, some would say artificial internet service. another approach, we ultimately chose, use title ii and section 706 but without bifurcation. another, the one the president supported, was only title ii without section 706. all of these were on the table
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prior to the president's statement. let me be specific. we were exploring the viability of a bifurcated approach. i was also considering using title ii in a matter pattern at. -- after its application in the wireless voice industry. i have from the outset indicated a straight title ii was being considered. a key consideration throughout this deliberation was the potential impact of any regulation on the capital formation necessary for the construction of broadband infrastructure. an interesting result of the president's statement was the absence of a reaction from the capital markets. when you talk about the impact of the president's statement, this was an important data point. resulting, i believe from the , president position against rate regulations. it was, of course, the same goal that i had been looking to achieve from the outset.
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as we move to a conclusion, i was reminded how it was not necessary to invoke all 48 sections of title ii. in this regard i have been considering the substantial success of the wireless voice industry after it was deemed a title ii carrier pursuant to section 332 of the communications act. in applying title ii, but limiting its applicable provisions, the congress and commission in that act enabled a wireless voice business with hundreds of billions of dollars of investment and a record of innovation that makes it the best in the world. this is the model for the ultimate recommendations i put forward to my colleagues. there were other industry data points that informed my thinking. one was the recognition of interconnection as an important issue. a topic not addressed by the president. there was my letter to verizon wireless about its announcement to limit unlimited data customers if a subscriber went over a certain amount of data.
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a policy that they ultimately reversed. particularly with the active bidding and ultimately overwhelming success of the u.s. three spectrum auction at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, which showed that investment in networks, even in the face of the potential classification of mobile internet access under title ii continued to floaters. other works included wall street analysts and isps themselves. sprint, t-mobile, frontier, and hundreds of small carriers said they would continue to invest under this title to framework we were developing. ultimately the collective findings of the public record influenced the evolution of my thinking. the final conclusion that modern, light touch title ii reclassification, accompanied by section 706, provides the strongest foundation for open internet rules. using its authority we adopt its
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balance protections that ensure the rights of internet users to go in they want, when they want, protect the open internet at a level playing field and entrepreneurs, and preserve economic incentives for isps to invest in competitive broadband networks. i'm ready to answer questions. thank you. representative chaffertz: did you or the fcc ever provide the white house the rule prior to the final vote? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative chaffertz: the comment was open to may 15. how may times did you me at the white house? chairman wheeler: in total? i think we have shown you my
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calendar, something like 10. representative chaffertz: june 11 with jason furman? june 18 with jeffrey? mr. zeintz meeting with you at the fcc. does that sound accurate? chairman wheeler: that is the list we provided. representative chaffertz: and yet, you only provided the extra tape for one of those meetings. why was that? chairman wheeler: the rules are quite clear on what constitutes an ex parte. that is an attempt to file specifically in a specific docket and to influence the outcome of that. representative chaffertz: did you discuss this?
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did you discuss this matter during those meetings? chairman wheeler: and there are provisions long-established going back to the bush administration. representative chaffertz: sir, i have five minutes. chairman wheeler: you are asking about ex parte. there is no requirement or need for it to be filed. representative chaffertz: i don't understand. you met with them. great timing this is proposed rule did not, and any of those meetings but one? chairman wheeler: i can't recall the details of those meetings. i can't assure you that there there wereas nothing that would
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trigger the next ex partake. representative chaffertz: you meet with the white house multiple times after the comment. closes, and we are supposed to believe the most important thing that fcc has ever done, that this did not come up? that they did not comments back to you? chairman wheeler: the administration was very scrupulous in making it clear that i was an independent agency and -- representative chaffertz: the point is, you met with them multiple times. but we invite you to come in and he refused. you did not send us a single document. that double standard is very troubling. chairman wheeler: mr. chairman one thing that i didn't agree to come, i'm here. representative chaffertz: before the rule, you met with the white house but not here. chairman wheeler: you gave me
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one weeks notice. representative chaffertz: that is what we give people. chairman wheeler: there are other committees i try to respond to. i said i would look forward to coming to you. representative chaffertz: i did not believe you then and i don't believe you now. you said you would not come to visit with us. you did not send us a single document we ask for. that's not right. my complaint is that before hand, you didn't. i'm moving on. hold on. our time is short. this is the way it works. on september 23, multiple people met at the white house. i will enter to the record asking them a consensus of the elite collar article of february 23, 2015. white house logs showing a number of people who met in the white house that are activists on this topic. i want to play a video clip. this is 6:55 in the morning of the day the president is going to issue his statement. this is you at your home? chairman wheeler: yes, sir.
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representative chaffertz: you woke up that morning to protesters outside of your house? they were there trying to make a statement. there is a long five-minute video of this. at 7:35 that evening you send out an e-mail to your commissioners calling it an interesting development. later that afternoon, i want to put up a slide. you rejected this. this was all redacted. hard to see up on the screen but we don't understand why this is redacted. this is what you wrote. please read it, go ahead. this is the same day. all of a sudden the president's statement comes out in a very coordinated fashion. he has the right to weigh in on this. that's fine. later that afternoon, you sent out this e-mail. you say, isn't it interesting, the day of the demonstration just happens to be the day folks take action at my house? the video opponents just happened to be the same.
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the white house and analysts saying please pass this on to anyone who cares about the state of the internet. why did you write that? chairman wheeler: does this suggest a secret plan? representative chaffertz: i'm asking you why you wrote it. chairman wheeler: this shows that there was clearly no kind of coordination. representative chaffertz: no quarter nation? the protesters just happened to show up the morning before the announcement comes. no one knew the president would make a statement, except the protesters. and you are saying that you are the one who wrote you thought hmm, isn't it interesting? chairman wheeler: not talking
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about the coordination with us i was talking about i don't know who else they were coordinating with. maybe others. representative chaffertz: you had multiple meetings with the white house, the visited you and we are supposed to believe there was only one discussion about this? chairman wheeler: they came once to meet with me and filed an ex parte. at which time i was told, it says this is the president will make an announcement a couple days later. he will endorse title ii. that is all i knew. the other meetings at the white house -- i was there on trade, i was there on national security issues, i was there on spectrum, i was there on auctions, i was there on e-rate. there are numerous issues. caroline atkinson was one of the names that you named. i can ensure you i did not talk to her about open internet because she she knows nothing
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about open internet. the entire conversation, and several with her, has been about trade issues. and the process for reviewing agreements that relate to national security. representative chaffertz: but you only spoke one time with jeff resigns -- jeffrey zeints about this? chairman wheeler: the only time was when he came and filed and at partake. i have been repeatedly saying i know the president has a strong position in favor of the open internet, as do i. and keeping them informed that i was fighting for a strong open internet position. representative chaffertz: so you
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inform them, and they had no reaction? no comments? chairman wheeler: i informed them that i had a strong position in favor of -- as a matter of fact, you have e-mails that show that i have e-mails with them saying, these press reports i am wondering this down our true. representative chaffertz: i have lots more questions that might time is exceeded. i will now recognize mr. welch of vermont. representative welch: mr. wheeler, this is probably one of the most contentious problems we had faced. 4 million comments about this. the two things that i understood were of concern to you and your fellow commissioners, republican and democrat, were how would whatever you decision you made affect innovation, is that correct? over time, you all debated to figure out what would be the impact of whatever direction you took. chairman wheeler: yes, sir.
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the whole rulemaking process is an evolutionary process. the whole concept of title ii is a fluid and evolutionary process. representatives welch: this almost seems to be like a watergate type of deal. what did you know and when did you know it. in public policy when you try to figure out what you can know and get to a good public policy decision, it is a back-and-forth discussion. incidentally the president of the united states is a relevant commentator. is that correct? chairman wheeler: i was constantly learning. representative welch: there was a report in "the new york times" about a previous matter where president reagan had the commissioner in for 45 minutes. did president obama ever summon
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you to the white house for the purpose of a 45 minute discussion about the way it will be with this order that you are considering? chairman wheeler: no sir president obama has never summoned me to the white house to discuss anything. representative welch: when he made his comment, you observed what was the impact on the market, correct? what was the impact? chairman wheeler: there was zero impact on the market. one of the concerns that isps had been making was understand what the consequences of an action entitled to maybe on the markets. lo and behold, there wasn't. representative welch: in denmark, where this is done, have they continued to have open and information? chairman wheeler: you are better informed than i am on denmark. representative welch: did that
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exceed revenues? chairman wheeler: significantly, $41 billion, which was triple what the estimates were. representative welch: with respect to the market since then, has there been any major disruption that can be attributed to the decision you made? chairman wheeler the market has : continued to advance northward in the evaluations of these stocks. representative welch: my understanding is one of your enormous concerns when you initially proposed possibly using section 706, was the wariness of having too heavy-handed regulation. where there factors you took into consideration in the decision on title ii about what type of regulatory framework that would be applicable? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. the model built for the wireless industry, which the wireless
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industry sought, by the way, was to use title ii and have them declare a common carrier but then to forbear, to not enforce those parts of title ii that are no longer relevant. chairman welch -- representative welch: is it your intention to work with by the commissioners to achieve that light touch approach? chairman wheeler: yes sir, i believe this has. there are 40 sections two title ii. that compares with the 19 that were born from the wireless environment. representative welch: i want to go back to the money question. somehow president obama, who has the right to express an opinion, muscled you into doing some the you did not want to do. and suggestions that was the case. the chairmen had indicated a number of meetings you had. i want to give you an
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opportunity to say whether the president gave you directions explicit or implicit, as to how you should do your job or elected to you to exercise your -- left it to you to exercise your judgment. chairman wheeler: no, the president did not. i interpreted what the president statement was and that he was joining with the 64 democratic members of congress and the millions of people and he was identifying with them. representative welch: thank you. i yield back. representative chaffertz: i will now recognize the gentleman from ohio. representative jordan: he said
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the notice from proposed rulemaking in may was a solution in section 706. that seems to be our position throughout most of 2014. you testified last year that section 706 approaches open internet. as late as october 30, the wall street journal wrote, chairman wheeler will move forward with a 706-based approach. back to where the chairman was all that seems to change on november 10. where you state publicly that now title ii is definitely in the mix. that is ultimately the demand -- direction the commission took. my question is simple, what changed between october 30 and november 10? chairman wheeler i think that is : an incorrect assumption. representative jordan: i'm using what they gave me. chairman wheeler: in i said we february, keep title ii of the table. representative jordan: hang on. by your testimony, you just read the proposed rule was a 706 east approach.
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and in "the wall street journal" it said the 706 approach was what you would move forward with. it changes on the what happened 10th. between those two events? one, the president made his youtube video. and he issued a statement. two, you had an important meeting with mr. zeints on november 6. chairman wheeler let me quote : from "the new york times" -- represented jordan: you can respond when asked you a question. that is the way it works. your interactions with the white house, march 6, tom wheeler meets with jeff zients. who is jeff zients? chairman wheeler he is the head : of the national economic council. representative jordan: so you meet with him march 6. march 7, wheeler meets with jeff zients.
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may 7, meeting with jeff zients at the white house. may 21, tom wheeler meets with jeff zients at the white house. june 11, meets with economic council's advisers at the white house. june 18, same. september 11, tom wheeler meets with jeff zients at the white house. october 15, tom wheeler meets again with white house economic advisers. october 28, tom wheeler meets with jeff zients at the white house. leading up to october 30, you met with the white house nine different times all at the white house, with mr. zients. and up until the position of the october, commission, according
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to "the washington journal" is a 706 based approach. that changes a few days later. i would argue changes on november 6. when you met with jeff zients. but the difference, nine times you went to the white house on november 6 jeff zients comes to you. as i look at the record, this is the only time he came to you. in my contention, it is, and where a lot of americans are jeff zients came to you and said, things have changed, we want the title ii approach to this rule. am i wrong? chairman wheeler: yes. first of all, there may have been nine meetings -- representative jordan: nine meetings when you went to the white house. one when jeff zients went to you. chairman wheeler: there are
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multiple issues on the table including a title ii and 706 approach. it is a mistake to say the only thing that was on the table was section 706. representative jordan: i didn't say that. i said nine times you met and you testified that is what you do and then it changes days , later. 11 seconds. in your testimony, you say, i want to be clear, there were no instructions from the white house. i did not feel obligated to follow the president's recommendations. one last question if i could mr. chairman. mr. wheeler, who is still at revere -- philip revere? chairman wheeler: special counsel in my office. representative jordan: your top advisor. this is an e-mail our staff got. with mr. revere and the lobbyist from at&t, on the 10th, or days
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after jeff zients came to you, everything changes. this is what the at&t representatives said to your senior counselor. this is awful. and bad for any semblance of agency independence. too many people saw jeff zients going into meet with tom last week. i'm not the only one who thinks everything changed november 6. this individual talked to your senior counselor and said he was -- things changed on november 6 when again, the white house came to you and said, mr. wheeler new sheriff in town. things are different and it is title ii. that is what you ultimately adopted. even though you had a 706 plan this entire time, you adopted the title ii approach. chairman wheeler: we did not adopt the title ii approach. we adopted a title ii and section 706.
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i cannot read it all, but i believe it is referenced in the first line of that e-mail. representative chaffertz: the gentleman's time has expired. relative cummings: with all due respect, the gentleman just went over a minute and a half. i would ask key be allowed to answer. -- he be allowed to answer. chairman wheeler: thank you. there were, as i was pointing out, "then your times" -- "the new york times" wrote after this "wall street journal" article, that this is one of the four possibilities the fcc is considering as it seeks to draw a net neutrality frameworks that will hold up in court. the title ii and 706 usage, as i said, was on the table along with a title ii and 706 nonhybrid, along with 706, along with title ii by itself.
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representative chaffertz: i now recognize the gentlewoman from new york. representative maloney: chairman wheeler, it has been reported that the proposed open net neutrality rule received 4 million comments. i'm curious, compared to other rules before the fcc, did any other rule get near these -- this number of comments? chairman wheeler: no, ma'am. it broke our ip system. representative maloney: do you have a percentage in favor of net neutrality? thousands came into my office and all of them were in favor of an open internet and net neutrality. what about your comments? chairman wheeler i think they : ran about 3-1 in favor. representative maloney: there were also several online
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petitions. were you aware of these? and there were demonstrations. even at your house and open meetings forms, all kinds of comment periods you participated in. i assume you are familiar with the popular late-night host, john oliver. he had a piece about net neutrality that went viral, and he was highly critical of you and your time as a lobbyist. are you aware of his program? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. i have his new research. representative maloney: he encouraged his viewers to go to the fcc site and register their position. i understand that after his piece aired you had to extend , the comment period, and there were so many comments coming in in favor of net neutrality, is that true? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative maloney: do you
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how many comments were submitted after john oliver show? would you get that for the committee? all of the attention on you, and the efforts, and grassroots organizations, and to john oliver piece, is it fair to say that they had some impact on your decision-making process? is that correct? chairman wheeler: well, they all went into the record. the decision was made on the record. obviously there was a high level , of concern. i also met around the country. representative maloney: i know you went all around the country holding forms, listening to comments. i would like to ask you, i'm curious, in your opinion, who had that greater impact on the fcc rules -- president obama's comments, or john oliver's show?
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chair wheeler: [laughter] i tend to view what was going on was the president was signing on to the 64 members of congress and the millions of people who had told them they want title ii. representative maloney: i sincerely want to thank you. it appears that the voices of the american people were listened to and you made that , proper choice. i commend you for keeping an open mind and doing what is right or the american people. i believe the economy as well. i would just say in all due , respect, i believe that my republican colleagues are looking at this issue in the wrong way. they should be thinking --thanking president obama for coming out in favor of an open internet rule, clearly where the public is and economists are. they should not be criticizing him. what i am hearing today is similar to the hearings on the
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auto industry where the restructuring president obama did with the support of congress, to the auto industry it was highly critical. right now, it is reported that it saved 500 jobs, we are now exporting automobiles, we had the biggest sales in the history of our country. it was the right decision. i believe this is the right decision for the american people, and i want to thank you. chairman wheeler thank you. :representative chaffertz: does the lady yield? representative maloney: i certainly do. representative cummings: some of these e-mails the 20 fcc staff up until that presidents announcement, where the majority of the comments in favor of open net policy? chairman wheeler yes, sir. :representative cummings in : light of all of these comments, with title ii on the forefront?
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chairman wheeler yes. :representative maloney: may i reclaim my time? i want to say that president obama saved the auto industry. he saved it and he saved the internet. i believe very strongly that republicans are on the wrong side of this issue. for the economy and the american people. representative chaffertz: i thinkank the gentlewoman will now recognize the gentleman from florida. representative mica: thank you mr. chairman. welcome. i think this boils down to people trying to figure out why you were against the president's policy before you became for the president's policy, and a very abrupt turn. some of it revolves around circumstances.
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the zients meeting appears to be very influential. it appears as well, from communications i have seen, may 15 -- is that when you are releasing the nprm? chair wheeler: yes, sir. represented mica: i have an e-mail from senate chief of staff. david krohn, do you know him? chairman wheeler yes, sir. :represented mica: it appears as if there was enlistment to try to keep the previous position intact. he said, good luck to that. he is not sure how things have landed but trust to make it work, please shout out if you need anything. spoke again last night with the
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white house and told them to back off title ii. once again, the problems it creates for us. do you remember this e-mail? chairman wheeler yes, sir. :represented mica: it appears, in defense, you are trying to come up with a certain position, that people were trying to back -- it looks like senator reid was backing you at that time. or at least, this is the indication. and he was trying to get the white house to back off pressuring you. is that correct? chairman wheeler: i'm grateful for this question, represented mica. there are a couple of things to respond. one is that the president was clear he was for a strong open internet. as was i. representative mica: but before, you had allies trying to help
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you, reid was the big tease at this time. chairman wheeler what i was : saying, the answer is no. representative mica: every public document, and some cited here, you are taking a different course. you take a different course in rolling this out. you draft a proposal, is that correct? chairman wheeler calle: i testify this was very evolutionary -- represented mica: i mentioned title ii. chairman wheeler: it was very rich in mentioning title ii. the job of a regulator is to put forth a proposal to see what it attracts in terms, and learn from that experience and to evolve.
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that is what i did. representative mica: everything we have indicate you were headed in a different direction. you were trying to stem the tide of the white house. you were in an awkward position. even a commissioner he said in , his statement, president obama's endorsement of title ii forced a change in the fcc's approach. maybe everyone else observing this, your comments up today and one of the commissioners is in conflict with what you believe. chairman wheeler before the : president made his comment, we we were working on a hybrid position. after, we delivered. representative mica: i think mr. jeff zients strong-armed you.
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it is pretty evident, and everyone saw it. mr. chairman, let me yield to you. representative chaffertz: i want to know why you felt compelled to communicate with the white house about what "the new york times" was writing. this is back in april. that the fcc is getting an open internet rule here it is flat out wrong. you go through and explain it. then, you send that to jeff zients. then you sent to podesta. he writes back, that someone would push back. you went back, yes. you are supposed to be an independent agency. and you are interacted regularly with the white house on how to communicate on the pr of a new york times story? chairman wheeler: mr. chairman i had said that we were going to reinstate the 2010 rules, which the president had endorsed.
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the report in "the new york times" was saying he is not doing that. i was there for responding and saying, you should know that that report is not true. at the same point in time i have , furnished also e-mails to members of congress. democratic members of congress saying the same point. that is what this was. the 2010 rules, i stand behind and i am not out in a campaign to gut them which is what was being reported in the press. there was an article that said this was mischaracterize. that is what that exchange was about. representative chaffertz: then
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why are you redirecting all of why is this redirected? chairman wheeler: how we respond to four yeia -- i can't answer why certain things are blacked out. representative chaffertz: i'm tired of having heads of agencies saying i don't know anything about it. the public has a right to know. this is how the public understands what is happening. your organization is redacting the information. it is wrong. i need further explanation. when can you give a further at explanation? a date? by the end of the month? chairman wheeler: sure. representative chaffertz: we
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will now recognize the representative from the district of columbia, ms. norton. representative norton: it is very hard to make a case against net neutrality. these members don't want to go home and make that case. they are trying to make a case for example, against hearing the opinion of the president of the united states. on net neutrality. this is a very important policy issue. it is inconceivable in our republic that the president would be silenced on it. i ran an independent agency and looked to see what the rules were in this case. the fact that an administration weighing in on such a notion is not new. is it? chairman wheeler: no, ma'am. representative norton: in fact i
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was able to discover that president reagan, h w bush clinton, george w bush, have all weighed in specifically on fcc policies in the past. chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative norton: i can understand in such a case where there might be some appearance after all you are an independent agency, and you must abide by the independence that you would , go to your office of legal counsel. as it turns out, there is an out -- office of legal counsel's opinion, advising that then president, george h.w. bush, on whether it was indeed permissible for that president to contact the fcc to advocate for a specific position on rulemaking. is that not correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative norton: because
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this is the president of the united states and not one of our , constituents, it is interesting to note that there are rules about how this should be done. that needs to be laid out here since the president is being criticized and you are being criticized.disaster, the commission is being criticized. and that has to do with disclosure. the legal opinion stated whether or not these matters must be disclosed in rulemaking on the record. if they are of substantial significance. is that not the case? representative chaffetz: yes ma'am. representative norton: the opinion also addressed whether it is permissible for the fcc to solicit the views of white house officials. solicit the views of white house officials. and whether these would be subject to public disclosure. is that not correct? representative chaffetz: yes ma'am.
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representative norton: here we have rules that are saying yes mr. president, we are not going to silence you on an important issue, but we are going to make clear that your views are absolutely transparent. so there is no law prohibiting the sec from soliciting the president -- the views of the white house. and it is in the discussion of whether the white house would have to -- whether the fcc would have to disclose that communication. is that not correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative norton: the white house would be required to submit an ex parte filing, only if its response was of substantial significance. and clearly intended to affect the ultimate decision. is that knock the case? -- not the case? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative norton: did not the white house submit a filing
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on november the 10th, 2014? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. representative norton: mr. chairman, i submit that the rules have been followed to the latter -- letter. as has been in openly transparent matter. the president was not and should not have been silent. if there were more americans wanting to submit their opinions, you can imagine that those americans would also want to know what the president of united states did on this matter. i think you're very much and yield back my time. chairman wheeler: thank you. when -- chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative cummings: i do have an old that you have to adhere to, right? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative cummings: tell
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us whether you believe you have upheld your oath. every syllable. chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative: could i enter into the record, mr. chairman? chairman wheeler: without objection. representative: let me for the record also make a statement that i will backup the reason why i did. the president was involved. it was not the president who saved the auto industry, it was the american autoworker. and is doing that to this day. i think it is also with the internet. the president has his right to make statements. many people have rights to make a statement. the question is, whose internet isn't? i contend it is the american people's pasta. -- american people's.
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mr. wheeler, on november 7 going back to some other questions, the day after he visited you, the open street -- "wall street journal" reported -- was there ever a point in time when the open internet issue was intended to be on the agenda for december 11? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative: what caused it to be pushed off the agenda? chairman wheeler: it was a bridge too far. you can whip the horse, but you can't make it go faster. representative: in whose mind was it a bridge too far. chairman wheeler: the staff, we could get the work done. representative: wahlberg: you called the rules historic and a shining the -- example of american policy and work. why did you not let the american
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see the rules before voting on it? chairman wheeler: golly, sir. we followed the process that has been in place at the commission for -- for recent memory. this is -- representative: the people never saw the role. chairman wheeler: we were very specific and putting out a fact sheet and saying this is what we are looking at. then we look into an editing process. which is not unlike a judicial situation. representative walberg: you went through that in your opening statement. all of the process, giving them drafts. that is great. a little idea of where you are going. and that develops over time. but ultimately, the language of the rule was not submitted to the american eyesight to view
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and ultimately comment on it. why was that? chairman wheeler: that is the typical process at the agency, as it has been forever. is that a draft role of put out by the chairman's office and then the commissioners go into editorial negotiation, if you will, over what the final rule would say. that is normally a three-week process. that does not involve putting out the role. representative walberg: but in light of the monumental process this was, this was the most monumental change to the rules of the internet in the history of the internet, wouldn't you say? chairman wheeler: it is a -- yes. representative walberg: it is huge. and in light of that, the emotion that i feel back in my district, people comment on it. you have 140 members of
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congress, over 4 million comments from people and entities concerned with this issue. i just don't understand why at the very last, when you are going to have the role as written, that it wasn't released to the public for comment. if you did it over again, would you have done it differently and let them sit? chairman wheeler: no, sir. first of all, it wasn't the final role. there are changes being made to the process. second of all, it is against the commission's procedures to do that, and always has been. thirdly is -- representative walberg: i would regard that as not true. with the commissioner, he called, and i quote him, a monumental shift toward government control of the internet. in light of this monumental shift, what harm would come from letting the american public see the text of the draft rule? chairman wheeler: we didn't
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vote, sir. we put out specifics, this is what it does. we then engaged, as we always do, in private, in camera editorial negotiations amongst the commissioners. we never put out a draft before those edits. that is not -- representative walberg: that is not true. the american public deserves the opportunity at this level, at this time period to have opportunities for spec. this was a shift, a monumental shift that should've held that oversight. mr. chairman, i yield. chairman wheeler: i have the discretion. it is not the practice of the commission. representative: you have the discretion of make it public correct? the answer is yes. no, you can't.
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hold on one second. chairman martin, at the request of numbers of congress including senator obama, who insisted on the openness and he was the senator, and they did it. they came and testified to congress they made the role open, and they went through a second -- after it. chairman wheeler: i am glad you raised that sir because i think that is more urban legend than fact. my understanding of the chairman martin situation is as follows. one, that he wrote an op-ed in the "new york times" in which he released two paragraphs of an order. he followed that with a press release in which he released one and a half pages of a 41 page section of a 124 page item. that is a different between releasing an entire item. representative chaffetz: he made himself available to congress,
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and what is startling to me, and what is telling to me, is that senator obama's position on this is totally different than president obama's position on this. time has expired. we were now recognize the gentleman from virginia. representative norton: thank you, mr. chairman -- representative connelly: thank you, mr. chairman. is it unusual for an independent agency, such as yours, to communicate with the executive branch? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative connelly: is it routine? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative connelly: this a compromise independent? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative connelly: if we examined -- i mean, the chairman began his questioning by reading off a list of meetings that apparently we were supposed to see a sinister, you or your
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colleagues meeting with various white house officials, would that be unique to your tenure as chairman? the previous term and did that. is that correct? chairman wheeler: i haven't seen the logs but i believe that every chairman has these kinds of meetings. representative connolly: is there something sinister though, and the timing of these meetings? because i think the insinuation from my friends on the other side is meant to suggest that there is something really deliver at least sinister here. your -- you are meeting with them either to tailor the role or to get your instructions, or to have some kind of quiet conversation that obviously the public isn't aware of. is that what occurred? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative connolly: did the white house ever direct you in the wording? framing? or content of the world? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative connolly: -- chairman wheeler: even when they
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filed, it was not a direction. it was a, here is our opinion. which is the same opinion as 34 members of congress -- 64 members of congress had been writing me to express, and millions of americans had been writing to express. representative: and as we just saw, one does not always want to put too much credence in letters from members of congress. it has to be put -- i know. i thought i would just make that into my five minutes. ok. is there -- the chairman was just suggesting in his overtime that you could have waived the rule and by extension, should have waived the rule to bring the public and at an earlier date in the drafting of the rule. your answer to that was a little bit derivative of -- yes, i have
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that power, but it is not our practice. going beyond that, though, why -- why in looking at that ability to waive did you not values on that? chairman wheeler: there are many reasons why negotiations amongst commissioners ought to be in camera. for instance, you put out the draft. what do you do then two days later when paragraph 345 gets changed? you put it out again and say oh, hey, look at this. how do you do with the back-and-forth between vers offices? how do deal with ongoing research? is it right to have this kind of a neck to be the that can be very much affecting of capital markets out there, people
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misinterpreting what this is or that markets crashing, or inflating? it is for that reason, those kinds of reasons, that foia in specific says that these kinds of editorial negotiations are specifically not foia-able. and that is why i made that decision, sir. and that is why that has existed. i believe. representative connolly: and you regret that decision? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative connolly: by your view, by making that decision come you protect to the content? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative connolly: ok. did you feel, when president obama issued his statement with respect to net neutrality,. there were press reports at the time that you -- and your colleagues were surprised or taken a
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little bit off guard. you may want to comment on that. but did you view his issuance of such a statement as -- and -- which was still under way? chairman wheeler: no. as we discussed, all president have had input to the process. in multiple administrations and multiple proceedings. it is not undue at all. representative connolly: not any different than congress weighing in with letters or resolutions or hearings such as this? chairman wheeler: correct, sir. representative connolly: thank you. i have no further questions. thank you, mr. chairman. representative chaffetz: if the gentleman yields, i don't know if we can put up the slack. out in a copy of that back. but your communications person in november, a couple days afterwards, in response to question about where they surprised, did it have an impact? sharon gilson, who is sharon
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gilson? chairman wheeler: she runs our media operations. representative chaffetz: do take this as twisting the knife? i don't want to overreact, but i'm ready to call. so the suggested that there is no -- at the fcc. i think the are certainly e-mailing back and forth. again, this gets redacted. i don't see this as part of the public process here that warns any sort of redaction but just thought i would bring that up. representative: since it is my time, i just want to remind the chairman, that is an interesting point, but we had an essentially identical situation with jay russell george, where his media person issued a statement contradicting his position.
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if you're going to cite a media person as corroborating your point, i'm happy to do so. now i yield. representative cummings: do you have a comment with regard to what the chairman just said? chairman wheeler: axa, this is the first time i have seen this -- actually, this is the first time i have seen this. i am not sure who it is referencing. representative cummings: who is the person writing it? and what level they are on? chairman wheeler: she is the head of the media office. representative chaffetz: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. representative: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm shaking my head remembered some of the stuff that happened back in the 1980's and the 1990's. the internet grassroots were fighting to keep it classified as an information service, and not as a telecommunications
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service. the marketing job completely flicked -- flip to that. but i want to address something. my friend from across the aisle, just brought up. and that is -- i completely lost my train of thought there. representative: i think you are agreeing that i had a brilliant point. [laughter] representative farenthold: on the public comment section, i remember where i was going now what happens is we were seeking public comments on things that we don't know what we are seeking comments on. open government is about the people knowing the thought process that goes into creating rules and regulations. it is why we have c-span. it is why anybody can turn on and see the debates going on in congress and reach out to his or
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her congressman or woman. and give comment. i am really troubled. i don't think this is just the fcc, this is the executive branch agencies, crating laws by regulations behind closed doors. you are defending doing it behind closed doors and not letting the public -- i just have to say, i personally have a problem with that. the more light of they we have on that, the better off we are. let me go back to my public comment in question. i have a hierarchy kind of comments that come into my office. something that is originally written by a constituent, a thoughtful bees is the most important. and something from a non-constituent, get a form letter, and one of these things that you clip. is there a breakdown you would be willing to share with us about the public comment and how they fall within similar hierarchy? you are nodding your head like -- chairman wheeler: i know exactly what you mean, congressman.
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and, you know, i get all kind of notes that are -- that range -- representative farenthold: can you provide me with sort of a -- chairman wheeler: i will try. i don't know if we can break out 4 million comments that way. representative farenthold: whatever information you could get me. what you all have done, and i think will cover more of this in a judiciary committee hearing but i have two questions that are really kind of burning on me. one is, as you move internet service from an information service to a telecommunications service, under title ii, are we opening the door to -- to internet services to your broadband services echo -- services? chairman wheeler: we specifically said we would not do this in -- that in this proceeding. as you know, there is an ongoing state board addressing that question. even if it were to happen, in a
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hypothetical, that does not mean that the total number gets changed. it just means the advisor -- representative farenthold: do feel that these regulations and subjecting them to more regulation is going to encourage or discourage more competition in the field? chairman wheeler: one of the things -- one of the reasons why we were really focused on making sure there was no impact on investment capital is because we want to incentivize investment. representative farenthold: it seems like having to go through a tangle of government regulations and be a heavily regulated industry, as opposed to just hanging out your shingle and stinging some wires or putting up a radio transmitter to do fixed broadband. chairman wheeler: so, there are four regulatory issues in this bill. in this role. no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization, and you must be transparent with consumers.
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those four seemed to be pretty well adopted. they are in the republican bill that has been proposed. representative farenthold: i guess my issue is -- my mom before she passed away only as internet, but i was her tech support so i will -- i wanted her to always have a broadband connection. it seems like under this scenario, she would have to buy -- there would be no ability to buy just like an e-mail only type broadband service. chairman wheeler: that is absolutely incorrect. there is nothing that we do with retail regulation. representative farenthold: but her service provider -- i couldn't go out and buy something, but i'm never going to stream netflix video. why shouldn't i have that alternative to buy that? chairman wheeler: there is nothing that hibbitts -- inhibits a service provider from having that option. you can have e-mail only. you can say you want 10 megabits, i want 25 megabits and you can charge all at
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different prices. there is nothing in this bill that regulates consumer rates. in this order, that regulates consumer rates. and that was by design, to go to your core question of investment. consumer revenues the day after this order goes into effect should be exactly the same as consumer revenues the day before because we do nothing to regulate. representative farenthold: i disagree that you are going to see a limited product offering. i don't like the fact that at&t shuts down my unlimited access after an -- x number of gigabytes. or i could buy more gigabytes for more money and do that. i want that choice. i yield. representative chaffetz: we now recognize the ranking member,
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mr. cummings, for fun a comment. representative cummings: thank you very much. thank you for your testimony. and you, over the years, have earned a reputation for high integrity. and excellence. when i asked you a little bit earlier about having taken a nose, and whether you believe -- an oath, and whether you believed you adhere to that oath, your answer was yes. and i'm just here to tell you, i believe you. thank you, sir. i want to ask about the rope -- actions of the republican commission members. we have heard outrage about the president this morning. let's go to commissioner o'reilly. he is a former republican senate staffer who has been an active
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proponent of the open internet rule. is that a fair statement? do know that to be the case -- you know that to be the case echo chairman wheeler: -- case? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative cummings: when we requested documents from you we requested documents from other commissioners. and we received them. we have now obtained an e-mail exchange between commissioner -- republican commissioner mr. o'reilly and three individuals outside the fcc. they are robert mcdowell, a partner in the communications practice of a large lobbying firm. -- in economic consultant in the communication sector. and darren -- , the president of tech freedoms. a libertarian ink tank focused on -- think tank focused on policy issues.
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in this exchange, commissioner or rally sought at its, sought at its -- eidts -- edits. chairman wheeler were you aware at the time that he was having these private communications with these individuals? were you aware of that? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative cummings: all three of these individuals have professional interest could be affected by the passage of this rule. is that right? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative cummings: the responsive to the request, several of the individuals provided substantive edits. in fact, one response had so many edits that he apologized, writing, and i quote, i know it looked like a lot of red ink but i really just tried to finesse, clarify, etc. end of quote. according to this e-mail exchange, commissioner o'reilly
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then forwarded these edits onto staff, writing, and i quote, he says ok, took a bunch and left out some stuff. ". chairman wheeler -- and of quote. chairman wheeler, it was published on may 5, 2014. that was 10 days before the notice of proposed rulemaking was published. isn't that right? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative cummings: so these edits were provided by outside parties, seem clearly designed to affect the ultimate decision of the fcc. are you aware of any ex-party filing? chairman wheeler: golly congressman. no. representative cummings: are you aware? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative cummings: would
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it be normal for you to be aware? chairman wheeler: no. representative cummings: we went through all the filings regarding this rule. all 750 of them. and they could not find one, not one, filed by any of these three individuals for these communications. do you know why that might be? chairman wheeler: no, sir. representative cummings: and you just sat here and testified about how you need to go about rules and you need to file under certain circumstances. would you tell us how you feel about that? what you just learned, assuming it to be accurate. what i just told you. chairman wheeler: -- representative cummings: is that consisted with the way it is supposed to be? chairman wheeler: i think that it is fair to say, congressman that there is often a free and fluid back-and-forth between
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practitioners in the bar. and members of the commission. representative cummings: but do think that should've been filed? chairman wheeler: i don't know in the specific -- i do want to sit here and hip shoot on that. representative cummings: let me be clear. i am not suggesting that anyone engaged in inappropriate activity here, but the republicans want to accuse the president of undue influence in this process, even when he submitted -- he did it the right way -- they can't just conveniently ignore similar actions on the part of the republican side. there is something wrong with that picture. fairness, balance. and i'm concerned about that. and with that, i will yield back. representative chaffetz: now recognized the gentleman from florida. representative: thank you, mr. chairman. chairman wheeler, i want to go
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back to this wall street journal report. which reported that you and the commission were prepared to move forward on a hybrid 706 type approach. i think that was consistent with a lot of the public reporting at the time. is it your testimony that that was not, in fact, the case? that you are not leaning towards a 706 hybrid type approach? chairman wheeler: no, we had gone through an evolutionary process. at that point in time come refocusing on a hybrid approach. representative: very good. obviously, something changed between october 30 and when you eventually submitted this rule. i think it has been pointed out how the president was very forceful in making his ideas known. did you know that when the commission adopted the rule, 400 pages, february 26 2015, the
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democratic national committee tweeted congratulations for adopting president obama's plan? chairman wheeler: i found that out afterwards. representative desantis: so you know this is being reported as something that is actually the president's plan, adopted by the commission. so you had talked about the release of the report. the report could have been released in early february. the vote happened several weeks after that. why not just release the proposed rule to the public, given that this is something that, one, has a lot of interest but two, all the input was done really before you had the movement to a title to -- two framework. why not let the people see it echo -- it? chairman wheeler: let me be clear, your comment about a hybrid being on the table is correct. as were the other approaches, as
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i said to mr. jordan, the day following that journal article. reporting that there were -- representative desantis: i understand that. but the transparency, though. chairman wheeler: mr. conley and i engaged in this. i did not release the draft order because it was the draft underlined, order. i did take pains to have fact sheets and other outreach so that people understood what was in it. representative desantis: let me clarify this. you are saying it is a draft order until the commission approved it? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. that is the way things work. representative desantis: actually, you could have released it. i think that a particularly in this town, this idea that we are just passing things to find out what is in things about the
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public having access to it, i don't think that that works. let me ask you this. can you guarantee to the american taxpayer people who use broadband service that if this goes into effect, that they will not see taxes show up as contributions to the universal service fund? chairman wheeler: we have carefully drafted this with two specific things in mind. -- i'm going representative desantis: can you guarantee them that they will not pay more? chairman wheeler: we have said that this does not trigger universal service. ok? representative desantis: i know that one of your members wrote to the senate and believed -- chairman wheeler: we are talking past each other. let me just be clear that this is if the civic point -- is a specific point that -- it would authorize us today in this rulemaking to do that. to have universal service.
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there is a joint federal state board addressing that very question today. how they resolved things in the future, i do not know. but this rulemaking was very clear to say that we do not trigger that. representative desantis: but it does not foreclose it. and the fact that we are in title two framework, this opens the door for it to happen, depending on what was decided with that commission. i just, look, i want open, robust internet. when i see 400 pages of red tape , this, to me, does not see what open is going to be. and the expense of one government gets involved in these things, 400 pages, it will never be less than 400. it is going to metastasize. government will be able to get involved in other aspects of this. i wish the public would have had more input.
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i know that this will be contested, obviously, here in the courts and in the congress. i yield back. chairman wheeler: can i clarify one thing, sir? representative chaffetz: there is actually eight pages of rules -- chairman wheeler: there is exley eight pages of rules and there. representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman from florida. we now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. representative: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. wheeler, for your testimony. i just want to get on the record to answer the following question, which is essentially was the process followed by the fcc essentially the same process that the sec has followed in other prior rulemakings? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. representative: in this case, there was a lot of public comment. and there is nothing wrong with a commissioner being influenced
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public comment, correct? chairman wheeler: absolutely. representative lieu: there is nothing wrong with a commissioner, if a member of congress running particularly compelling letter, to be influenced, correct? chairman wheeler: i hope we led from the whole process. representative lieu: and there is nothing wrong with any commissioners being influenced by the president of the united states providing that that content is reported in a phallic, correct? chairman wheeler: we should make our decision independently on the record that has been established by those who have commented. representative lieu: and in this instance, they did file. the president of the united states cannot fire you as commissioner, correct? chairman wheeler: correct. representative lieu: wouldn't we want different folks to weigh in on issues of this magnitude, including not just the president, but numbers of congress and public? isn't that the way democracy works?
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chairman wheeler: i think it is the way democracy works, the ways the administrative procedure act with structure to make sure that there was an open opportunity for notice and comment. and then make a decision based on what that record was. representative lieu: thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman. the gentleman would yield for a second. similar to what you are saying, i do think there is room for everybody to weigh in. whether it be the president or the member of congress. but it is about filing, transparency. i think that is what the gentleman is saying. i would hope that we could find people on both sides of the aisle. i really do believe, certainly at the fcc, and other agencies, that maybe we should require by law that there be a 30 day notice. take the final rule, give it the light of day, and let it -- let
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it be out there for 30 days. what harm would there be in during that's? i would appreciate if the gem it would consider that. representative: you have heard all of this, mr. chairman. and i am just curious. when you hear the complaints i can for, and here you are sitting here to be what i consider a hotseat, are there things that you would like to see us do either as a congress to bring more clarity? or do you feel like the process is fine just the way it is? because we want to be effective and efficient. we can't just keep going on these merry go rounds over and over again. there will be controversial decisions in the future. and going to mr. lieu's
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comments, if there is guidance we can provide that will get rid of any kind of ambiguity, with regards to people wondering whether folks have crossed this line or that line -- i mean, i am sure you have thought about this a lot. and i am sure you want to act in the best interest of the united states, are citizens, and certainly your agency. is anything you can think of? chairman wheeler: i appreciate that question, mr. cummings. the -- my goal has been to make sure that i follow the rules. i don't make the rules or the regulations that interpret the statute, i try to follow them. you know, the administrative conference of the united states is kind of the expert agency when it comes to processes. and they and you have a
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significant challenge, in that the rules have to apply across all agencies. not just the fcc. and so far be it from me to get specific and say you ought to change section twob -- 2b, but i see my job as trying to adhere to the statute and the rules that have been put in place to deliver on those concepts. representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman. as i recognize mr. walker here i want to respond to what you just said and highlight, again, under the rules, you did have the discretion to make it public. and you elected not to. i think what congress should consider is compelling you to make that open and transparent rather than just simply making it discretionary. i now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker. representative walker: thank
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you, mr. chairman. being a relatively new member in congress, i am learning new things every day. i had already known that al gore had invented the internet, but today i found out, according to ms. maloney, that the president has saved the internet. do you think that is a statement that is fair? do you think his and bowman has saved the internet for the future? chairman wheeler: i think that this is a much bigger issue, congressman. i think that the internet is the most powerful and pervasive thought form that has ever existed in the history of the planet. and that it has an impact on every aspect of our economy. and for that to exist without rules and without a referee -- representative walker: you testified that you do not feel obligated to follow the president's suggestion. my question is, what exactly was the president's suggestion? chairman wheeler: the present filed saying we should have title two.
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and we did not follow that suggestion. we did title two plus 706. he said we should not do interconnection, we did interconnection. he did not suggest that we should have the scope of forbearance that we had. representative walker: i am actually sort of getting towards your actions with him, when you said he suggested -- there was, what, nine or 10 trips to the white house? to remember which time it was suggested as far as there was disagreement or agreement? chairman wheeler: i'm star sir. my comment about suggestion was specifically regarding his filing. representative walker: so there was no one-on-one suggestion between you and the president? chairman wheeler: that is correct. representative walker: ok. did you have any idea -- let's go back to the pictures, obviously, of the protesters that were there that morning. did you have any word or any idea that those protesters would
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be showing up that morning? or were you surprised? chairman wheeler: i was surprised. if i had spent less time brushing my teeth, they would have missed me. because they just barely caught me. representative walker: so you had no idea -- you are not tipped off they would show up that morning? yours to has been called apologetic. why do you think that assumption is being made? chairman wheeler: apologetic? representative walker: yes. since the decision has been made, some outlets have said -- it is not as firm as when the decision would -- was made. chairman wheeler: oh, my goodness, congressman. i hope this is not apologetic. i said this was my proudest day being involved in public policy for the last four years. there is no way that i am apologetic. i am fiercely proud of this decision, and believe it is the right decision. and believe it is an important
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decision, not only for today but for tomorrow. representative walker: you talked about a little earlier that -- and i think our congressman mentioned this earlier -- you talked about the open quote -- "wall street" comment. do think they had it wrong? specifically, what do they have wrong deco chairman wheeler: what i was referencing was the "new york times" article. i obviously don't have it, what it is represented here that it said there was one solution on the table. and the "new york times" said the following day there were four solutions on the table. representative walker: which one is accurate? chairman wheeler: the times is correct. let me do very specific. title to -- two has always been on the table. i said in my testimony that we're looking at title two and
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706 in a hybrid, title two and 706 not in a hybrid. representative walker: can you understand why people would have some questions when there was meeting after meeting with the white house? is there anything that the american people or congress can see, a balance where there is also balance from the other side? as opposed to just one partisan perspective? chairman wheeler: you know, congressman, during that. period, i met three times as often with members of congress. our job is to take input. my job is to provide expertise on issues that are being considered. and that kind of an ongoing relationship with all aspects of government is an important role. representative walker: thank you. my time has expired. i will yield back to the chairman.
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representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman. now recognized -- ms. watson coleman from new jersey. representative: thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. wheeler, thank you very much for your testimony. thank you for your perseverance and thank you for the fact that it seems that you responded to the enormous interest and concern with net neutrality. i know i became -- i am a newbie also. but i became aware of net utility and social media. so, thank you so much for that. i just wanted to clarify a couple of things. first of all, with respect to the comment about perhaps we got to have a 60 day comment. period after the final rule. i don't know how we would then determine if it would ever become a final rule. do you -- it has been stated that you have it with the white
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house on several occasions during what is supposedly a controversial period of time. with the issue of net neutrality on the things you are doing during the period of time when you're considering net neutrality, whether a variety of other issues you may have been meeting with members of the white house or at the white house, and if so, just for the record might you just want to share some of those? chairman wheeler: thank you congresswoman. yes. so, i met on national security issues. we met on trade related issues. cyber security. -- what was happening there. spectrum policy. the white house is, obviously
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very, very much involved in implementing the instructions of the congress to repurpose spectrum. we had to work their closer with all the agencies and the white house on that. and -- and the spectrum option, obviously, as well. excuse me. i forgot to turn off my phone. representative coleman: thank you. that gives us an illustration of the writing of issues that you had been addressing. we would love to have the opportunity to work on one thing at a time. we know the president doesn't, and we know we can't go to suggest that is the only think you are doing. it is certainly misleading. and, i believe, a mischaracterization of your continued statements that you are not meeting on these issues. i have no reason not to believe you.
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given that this is such a huge issue that everyone wants access , and net neutrality, it just seems to me that you were quite willing to listen to more than 4 million people, what they had to say. to all of the motions that were filed. for consideration, including the president of the united states. i listen to him. i think he is really great and has great ideas with this country. so i just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to hear your testimony, and to be able to give you an opportunity to answer questions as to the kinds of think -- things that are on your plate. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back my time. representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman. i recognize the gentleman of georgia. representative: thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. wheeler, for
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being here with us. it is pretty well-established -- with many excuses -- but the fcc did not report many meetings with the white house and white house officials, even though you did report to various lobbyists and companies and so forth. that is well-established here today. but this does not seem, at all, as though transparency has taken place. when there is a specific area that is deliberately not reported, the appearance is that it is secretive. that there is something to hide. and you are denying that. is that true? chairman wheeler: yes, sir. there was no secrets. i'm not sure what you -- reporting to lobbyists? representative hice: i mean, we have 755 entries -- chairman wheeler: when they would how? i am sorry. representative hice: that was one. so, i mean, it gives every
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appearance of secrecy, rather than transparency. when you agree with that? chairman wheeler: and i think it has to do with the fact that the language is intended to affect a decision, and to provide information of substantial significance. representative hice: and you don't believe this is substantial significance? chairman wheeler: there was when jeff came to see me. and this is what the president said. that was substantial significant. representative hice: as a general rule, if someone is offering you an opinion, he would not object in opinion being offered to you, i am assuming. just a general rule. -- you all respect the first amendment. if someone has an opinion, you would feel free to let them have an opinion. on the other hand, if someone or some group whatever, was trying to give directives to you or the
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fcc or whatever, he would probably be outspoken against that action. i mean, you have someone giving an opinion. that is no problem. but if someone was to be intrusive and give orders, that media different scenario. chairman wheeler: and i think boy, did we get opinions on this. representative hice: ok. you mentioned a while ago that the white house offer their opinion. on this whole thing. and our lack to put up a slide that we had a little bit earlier, e-mails of the chief of staff to the senate majority leader, to you. and the top line up there that is in red, it says -- the comment -- spoke again last night with the white house and told them to back off. that sounds like a whole lot more than an opinion. typically, you would not tell someone who is offering an opinion to back off. would you agree with that?
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chairman wheeler: i don't understand the pressing of the words here? representative hice: you said you don't have any problem. you don't have a problem with somebody giving an opinion. but this is more than opinion because the comment here tells the white house to back off. so there is more than just an opinion coming in the white house, it would appear. chairman wheeler: the other part about that is that i had come at the same point and time, 90 letters from republican matters -- members of congress saying that i should not do title two. representative hice: i am not talking about members of congress. i'm talk about the statement right here. chairman wheeler: but it suggests that title two is very much in the mix. if i can read/write, it says -- representative hice: spoke again last night with the white house told them to back off. title two went through once again. this is more than an opinion. chairman wheeler: this is may.
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as i indicated in may, proposing that section 706 was a solution. and i learned, through the process of this, long before the white house ever had their filing, that section 706 was not the answer. representative hice: but the white house was not providing an opinion. they were putting some sort of directive, otherwise you would not have been saying comments to tell the white house to back off. it was more than an opinion coming from the white house. chairman wheeler: i think that you are reading into this. but the fact of the matter is -- representative hice: why else would the comment be to back off if it is just an opinion? at the white house is offering an opinion, no one would be sitting back off. it was more than an opinion that was being presented. chairman wheeler: with all due respect, that is your opinion. representative hice: it is your e-mail. it is your e-mail. and the words back off a pretty strong.
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chairman wheeler: i don't think that it is conclusive that there is more than clearly what is just dated there. representative hice: it says back off because this is grading problems for us. that is more than just my opinion. it is an e-mail. i yield my time. representative chaffetz: i think the gentleman. i will not recognize the gentleman from the virgin islands for five minutes. representative: thank you mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. wheeler for being here this morning. i think it is so important to understand the significant attention that this open internet order has generated and that interest is primarily in the process, as opposed to the content of what the open internet is. and having these hearings regarding this process, and whether or not you have used discretionary, your discretionary ability, as opposed to a rule something that
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i think is also very interesting. and i thought it would be important for us to understand the steps the fcc takes in that rulemaking process. now, the official fcc blog contains a post from this general counsel entitled the fcc and the open internet order. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to enter that post into this hearing record at this time. representative chaffetz: without objection. delgate plaskett: thank you. the council begins by explaining that the fcc seeks to create an enforceable role that reflects public input, from its internal deliberations, and is built to withstand judicial review. is it an accurate statement that that is the object to enroll making? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. delgate plaskett: and after the public comment period, they
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reviewed comments in light of that record. we know the common period was actually even longer than is normally done. 60 days, as opposed to the 30 days that you are required because of the volume and the interest of this. when was that don? the review beginning in light of the public record. chairman wheeler: the traditional way we do it is that you -- the common period closes and you have an opportunity to review those comments. then you can comment on this comment and review those. delgate plaskett: do you remember what time those were closed to go chairman wheeler: i do not remember the exact date. i can get them for you. delgate plaskett: and for internal review and the liberation again, is that correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. delgate plaskett: and what is that timeframe? chairman wheeler: three weeks before the vote. that is by our own internal -- delgate plaskett: and that is a critical portion of it, right? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. delgate plaskett: and before the
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vote to adopt the internet order on -- open internet order, there were calls to -- that internet order, right? and is it the policy to publicly release the order before they vote on it? chairman wheeler: no, ma'am. delgate plaskett: and what could possibly be that? what would be the reasoning behind that? the rationale. chairman wheeler: the rationale is that, first of all, there has been an extended period of comment an extended debate. then you get to a point in time when the rubber meets the road and you are drafting and going back and forth and editing a document that changes frequently as a result. and that is something that is dynamic and not public. one reason you want to make sure you have the full participation of all of the commissioners.
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second, as i mentioned before, the opportunity to cause mischief and financial markets. and, so, these have always been in camera kinds of editorial activities. delgate plaskett: even after the vote, there are didn't additional steps that are taken before the order is final and ready for release, correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. delgate plaskett: and that includes commissioners positive individual statements their opinions, clarifications of any significant arguments, and the final cleanup edit, correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. and when those final cleanup edits were made by the dissenters, that was about midday. and on the following morning at 9:30, we released the item. delgate plaskett: and that final order was released on march 12
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correct? chairman wheeler: yes, ma'am. delgate plaskett: it appears to be that you did not do part, in any way, from your rulemaking process in this respect. in regard to the open internet. it is really have been a question to many people's's mind -- many people's mind chair wheeler: that is correct, yes. rep. plaskett: and then there is a question of whether that discretion was appropriate or not appropriate, like the president weighing in on the -- -- that would have huge importance to the people of the united states. chair wheeler: i can't comment on that hypothetical, but my statement is that we followed the protocols. rep. plaskett: thank you, very much. i yield the balance of my time. rep. chaffetz: sure, sure, and now we recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell, for five minutes. rep. russell


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