Senator Ted Cruz and House Republicans are planning to fight the president’s attempts to turn over internet oversight to nation’s that have, traditionally, not been icons of free speech.
GOP lawmakers have long warned that the administration’s plan to relinquish its authority over ICANN, the global nonprofit that manages the internet’s domain name system, could give authoritarian countries like China and Russia an opening to make an online power grab. Now, as the actual date of the transition approaches — Oct. 1 — Republicans are looking at throwing up new obstacles.
“Today our country faces a threat to the internet as we know it. In 22 short days, if Congress fails to act, the Obama administration intends to give away the internet to an international body akin to the United Nations,” Cruz said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday. “I rise today to discuss the significant, irreparable damage this proposed internet giveaway could wreak not only on our nation but on free speech across the world.”
He plans a hearing with the oversight subcommittee he chairs for next week, in order to examine the aspects of the president’s plan, as well as highlight the risks.
Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said Wednesday that language to delay the transition could be included in the continuing resolution to fund the government past this month. And House Republicans are considering their options in the coming appropriations bill, a GOP aide confirmed this week.
“I don’t think the foundation has been appropriately laid for this,” Thune said in an interview. “Some members are adamantly opposed to transition, period, and a lot of them just think now is not the time, and it really just hasn’t been vetted, and it’s not ready yet.”