| Dec. 16, 2014, 5 a.m.
Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and even the executive branch, continue to grapple with net neutrality and whether or not the government should reclassify the Internet as a public utility.
| Dec. 10, 2014, 4:42 p.m.
Two accidents in the commercial space industry this year — an unmanned rocket that exploded shortly after launch in the fall and an experimental suborbital craft that broke apart during flight shortly after — are almost sure to come up the next time a congressional committee discusses the private spacecraft market. But, experts say the incidents won’t have much of an effect on the sector’s increasing expansion.
| Dec. 9, 2014, 7:11 p.m.
If certain members of Congress and President Barack Obama have their way, 2014 may very well be remembered as the year we started taxing the Internet. The good news is that the passage of Internet sales tax legislation appears unlikely — at least for the moment. The bad news is there are still two far reaching and potentially expensive measures under consideration that pose a serious threat to the Internet as Americans now know it.
| Dec. 5, 2014, 5:13 p.m.
Lawmakers are using the Ebola outbreak to call for a broader investment in biomedical research and public health funding to avoid scrambling to respond to a specific disease.
| Dec. 5, 2014, 5:10 p.m.
Appropriators are expected to include significant extra funding in an omnibus spending package to help agencies continue responding to the Ebola outbreak, but the final number will be less than President Barack Obama requested.
| Dec. 2, 2014, 7:13 p.m.
A year ago today, the House Energy & Commerce Committee leaders Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., launched the #CommActUpdate, an ambitious effort to overhaul the federal laws that govern America’s communications. Three hundred and sixty-five days later, on the heels of a Republican takeover of Congress and a public endorsement of the effort by soon-to-been Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune, R-S.D., this necessary effort seems destined for significant progress in 2015. Given the outdated 1934 laws are in today’s digital economy, this should be welcome news for all stakeholders in the communications landscape, including Internet companies, consumers and legislators looking to promote modern, constructive public policy. And with a long history of bipartisan success in this area, unlike other contentious policy areas in Congress, the #CommActUpdate is not only feasible, but realistic.
| Dec. 1, 2014, 7:07 p.m.
House Speaker John A. Boehner’s decision to oppose an Internet sales tax measure championed by Senate Democrats and Republicans in the lame duck session is not just good politics, but also good policy in light of the efforts the House Judiciary Committee has already made toward developing an alternative that would treat all kinds of retailers fairly and equally.
| Nov. 24, 2014, 5:31 p.m.
All governments tend to subscribe to the principle of “Keynes at home, Smith abroad” — or, advocate market deregulation abroad but retain government powers at home. In the days of electronic surveillance and privacy concerns, telecom authorities around the world are applying this principle to the Internet. But the ideas put forward by President Barack Obama on broadband regulation could backfire with unintended consequences for the global openness of the Internet. The new Republican-controlled Congress should maintain the bipartisan approach of light regulation that made the Internet so successful; otherwise, the U.S. leverage on Internet governance could be lost.
| Nov. 19, 2014, 3:34 p.m.
A key figure in the congressional debate over online sales tax collections is Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, the veteran Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte has said he plans to draft sales tax legislation based on seven basic principles, which he lists on his committee’s website.
| Nov. 19, 2014, 2:57 p.m.
Though the Senate appears ready to pass a second bill allowing states to require online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by their residents, House leaders seem intent on keeping the issue out of an end-of-Congress rush for action.
| Nov. 19, 2014, 1:37 p.m.
Today a debate is being waged in Washington. Various approaches to preserving the open Internet are being weighed, and reclassification of broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act is still at the heart of the debate.
| Nov. 18, 2014, 5:08 p.m.
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seems poised to take one last shot at changing how online purchases are taxed. Reid has signaled he’ll bring the unpopular Marketplace Fairness Act up for a vote by tacking it onto the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which is headed for certain renewal.
| Nov. 17, 2014, 6:47 p.m.
House leaders have decided that one of the most important things they can do during the lame duck session is to vote on two bills that would cripple good, science-based policy.
| Nov. 13, 2014, 11:26 a.m.
The start of the holiday shopping season has evolved from a single day, Black Friday, to a five-day stretch of promotions and discounts, and is now on the verge of consuming almost all of November. Technology that enables easy, at-home shopping has benefited both retailers and consumers, but it often exploits a major tax loophole that gives online retailers an unfair advantage and leaves consumers vulnerable to tax penalties. It’s time for Congress address the online sales tax disparity head on, in a way that takes the burden off consumers and makes the relationship between brick-and-mortar stores and their online counterparts more equitable.
| Nov. 3, 2014, 6:04 p.m.
To their credit, both Time Warner and Viacom are listening to what many TV viewers have been asking rhetorically now for decades: “Why should subscribers to cable, satellite and fiber-video programming services have to buy through tiers of unwanted cable and satellite TV channel packages in order to access the channels and services that they value and have the available time to watch and to use?”
| Oct. 29, 2014, 2:21 p.m.
Roll Call recently reported on Sen. Tom Coburn’s final “Wastebook” with negative descriptions of two of my company’s customers’ use of the International Space Station. Coburn went on to call for canceling the ISS entirely, which he claimed would save $3 billion, not understanding these two projects are mostly privately funded.
| Oct. 21, 2014, 6:13 p.m.
Most everyone in Washington is fixated on Election Day: November 4. But another date just around that corner also looms large for taxpayers and the Internet: December 11. On that day, the federal ban on Internet access taxes is scheduled to expire. If it’s not extended, states and localities across the country could immediately begin assessing taxes that would make it more expensive for Americans to check their email, read blogs, or watch online videos.
| Oct. 20, 2014, 5:57 p.m.
In 1986, Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were packing movie theaters. Peter Gabriel and The Bangles were putting out hit music. Microsoft held its initial public offering of stock shares.
| Oct. 7, 2014, 4:44 p.m.
In the Miller Lite ads of the 1980s, famous shortstops and linebackers argued whether the pilsner’s chief virtue was its surprising flavor or its low calorie count. “Tastes great,” insisted some. “Less filling,” the others replied.
| Oct. 1, 2014, 5:01 p.m.
In a town where Democrats and Republicans can hardly agree on anything, Congress has the unique opportunity to pass legislation that is both bipartisan and popular: extending the ban on Internet access taxes. The Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits politicians from slapping new taxes on Internet access, is currently scheduled to expire at the end of October. Despite its wide support, Congress is dragging its feet on renewal, meaning consumers could find themselves paying even more in taxes. Legislators need to get off the sidelines and protect unfettered online access for all Americans and by passing a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.