The House of Representatives is swiftly moving to advance its annual bills providing funding to the federal government. One of those bills, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, was introduced this week with numerous provisions to restrict several agencies, particularly the FCC and the IRS.
In a hearing earlier this year, Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, had strong words for the FCC. He then called on the agency to “do a better job of managing your resources” and asserted that “the Commission seems to be pursuing politically-charged issues rather than the important, mission-critical work of the FCC.” He specifically made note of the FCC’s partisan net neutrality decision. He expressed concern that the Commission decided “to constrain and control something that has brought about innumerable technological advances and American jobs.”
Accordingly, Chairman Crenshaw’s funding bill released this week would prohibit the net neutrality order from being carried out by the FCC while legal challenges to it continue. In addition, the legislation would require future proposed regulations to be posted online at least 21 days before a Commission vote. Moreover, the bill would cut the FCC budget by $25 million from the last fiscal year, which would give the Commission $73 million less than the Obama Administration requested.
The IRS, also funded under this bill, would be hit with an $838 million cut from the previous year. The committee press release accompanying this announcement stated, “This funding level is sufficient for the IRS to perform its core duties, but will require the agency to streamline and better prioritize its budget.” The proposed legislation, too, would include a number of prohibitions, including a “prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
The full House Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation soon, likely next week.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: June 12, 2015