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Cliff Stearns on Technology

Republican Representative (FL-6)


Voted YES on terminating funding for National Public Radio.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967. Today, we have multiple listening choices; NPR [has become an] absurd anachronism. It is time to move forward and to let National Public Radio spread its wings and support itself.

    Opponent's Argument for voting No:
    [Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the public access to one of our Nation's most credible sources of news coverage. This bill does not save a penny. This legislation does not serve any fiscal purpose, but it does serve an ugly ideological one. This legislation is not about reforming NPR. It is about punishing NPR. It is vindictive, it is mean-spirited, it is going to hit the smallest stations in rural areas particularly hard. Public radio is indispensable for access to news that's hard to get, especially where broadband service is limited.

    Reference: Prohibit Federal Funds for NPR; Bill H.1076 ; vote number 11-HV192 on Mar 17, 2011

    Voted NO on delaying digital TV conversion by four months.

    Congressional Summary:Amends the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act to delay the transition of television broadcasting from analog to digital to June 13, 2009. Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend for a 116-day period the licenses for recovered spectrum, including the construction requirements associated with those licenses.

    Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. RICK BOUCHER (D, VA-9): Fully 6.5 million households are totally unprepared for the transition on February 17; these 6.5 million households will lose all of their television service, and that number represents about 5.7% of the total American television viewing public. If almost 6%of the nation's households lose all of their television service, I think that most people would declare that the digital television transition has been a failure. In recognition of that reality, this legislation would delay the transition until June 12.

    Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JOE LINUS BARTON (R, TX-6): The majority is trying to fix a problem that I do not think really exists. We have sent out 33 million coupons: 22 million of those coupons have been redeemed, and 11 million coupons are outstanding. The outstanding coupons are being redeemed, I think, by about 500,000 a week, something like that. In my opinion, you could keep the hard date and not have a problem, but if you think there is a problem, it is not from lack of money. We have appropriated $1.3 billion. About half of that is still in the Treasury, so the redemption rate is only about 52%. Even though we are delaying this until June 12 if this bill becomes law, according to the acting chairman of the FCC, 61% of the television stations in America are going to go ahead and convert to digital. 143 television stations already have converted, and in those areas where they have converted, I am not aware that there has been a huge problem.

    Reference: DTV Delay Act; Bill S.352 ; vote number 2009-H052 on Mar 4, 2009

    Voted YES on retroactive immunity for telecoms' warrantless surveillance.

    Proponents argument for voting YEA: Rep. ETHERIDGE. This bipartisan bill provides the critical tools that our intelligence community needs to ensure the safety of our Nation--to authorize surveillance in the case of an emergency situation, provided that they return to the FISA court within 7 days to apply for a warrant.

    Rep. LANGEVIN. One issue that has been repeatedly addressed is whether telecommunications companies should be granted immunity against pending lawsuits for their involvement in the earlier surveillance program. This legislation preserves a role for the U.S. court system to decide independently whether the telecommunications companies acted in good faith. Only after that review would the courts decide whether the telecommunications companies deserve any form of liability protection.

    Opponents argument for voting NAY: Rep. LEVIN. I oppose this bill because of the provisions that would confer retroactive immunity on the telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. It sets a dangerous precedent for Congress to approve a law that dismisses ongoing court cases simply on the basis that the companies can show that the administration told them that its warrantless surveillance program was legal. A program is not legal just because the administration claims that it is.

    Rep. NADLER. The House must decide today whether to uphold the rule of law & the supremacy of the Constitution or whether to protect & reward the lawless behavior of the administration and of the telecommunications companies that participated in its clearly illegal program of spying on innocent Americans. The bill is a fig-leaf, granting blanket immunity to the telecom companies for illegal acts. It denies people whose rights were violated their fair day in court, and it denies the American people their right to have the actions of the administration subjected to fair & independent scrutiny.

    Reference: FISA Amendments Act; Bill HR6304 ; vote number 2008-437 on Jun 20, 2008

    Voted NO on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

    Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

    Veto message from President Bush:

    This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

    Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-1040 on Nov 6, 2007

    Voted NO on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet).

    An amendment, sponsored by Rep Markey (D, MA) which establishes "network neutrality" by requiring that broadband network service providers have the following duties:
    1. not to block or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access the Internet;
    2. to operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content and services over the broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation;
    3. if the provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, to prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
    Proponents say that network neutrality ensures that everybody is treated alike with regard to use of the Internet, which has been a principle applied to Internet use since it was first originated. Proponents say that without network neutrality, large corporations will pay for exclusive preferential service and hence small websites will be relegated to a second tier of inferior service. Opponents say that the Markey amendment forsakes the free market in favor of government price controls, and would chill investment in broadband network and deployment of new broadband services, and would reduce choice for internet users. Voting YES favors the network neutrality viewpoint over the price control viewpoint.
    Reference: Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act; Bill HR 5252 Amendment 987 ; vote number 2006-239 on Jun 8, 2006

    Voted YES on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting.

    Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005: Expresses the sense of Congress that broadcast television station licensees should reinstitute a family viewing policy for broadcasters. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide that for violators of any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license, if a violator is determined by the FCC to have broadcast obscene, indecent, or profane material, the amount of forfeiture penalty shall not exceed $500,000 for each violation. Sets forth:
    1. additional factors for determining indecency penalties;
    2. indecency penalties for non-licensees;
    3. deadlines for actions on complaints;
    4. additional remedies for indecent broadcasts; and
    5. provisions for license disqualification, revocation, or renewal consideration for violations of indecency prohibitions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]; Bill H.R.310 ; vote number 2005-035 on Feb 16, 2005

    Voted YES on promoting commercial human space flight industry.

    Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004: States that Congress finds that:
    1. the goal of safely opening space to the American people and to their private commercial enterprises should guide Federal space investments, policies, and regulations;
    2. private industry has begun to develop commercial launch vehicles capable of carrying human beings into space;
    3. greater private investment in these efforts will stimulate the commercial space transportation industry;
    4. space transportation is inherently risky, and the future of the commercial human space flight industry will depend on its ability to continually improve its safety performance; and
    5. the regulatory standards governing human space flight must evolve as the industry matures so that regulations neither stifle technology development nor expose crew or space flight participants to avoidable risks as the public comes to expect greater safety for crew and space flight participants from the industry.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Dana Rohrabacher [R, CA-46]; Bill H.R.5382 ; vote number 2004-541 on Nov 20, 2004

    Voted YES on banning Internet gambling by credit card.

    Internet Gambling Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would prohibit credit card companies and other financial institutions from processing Internet gambling transactions. Exempt from the ban would be state regulated or licensed transactions.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Spencer, R-AL; Bill HR 2143 ; vote number 2003-255 on Jun 10, 2003

    Voted YES on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access.

    Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would allow the four regional Bell telephone companies to enter the high-speed Internet access market via their long-distance connections whether or not they have allowed competitors into their local markets as required under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The bill would allow the Bells to increase the fees they charge competitors for lines upgraded for broadband services from "wholesale rates" to "just and reasonable rates." It also would also allow the Bells to charge for giving competitors access to certain rights-of-way for broadband access. Certain FCC regulatory oversight would be maintained although the phone companies' high speed services would be exempted from regulation by the states.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Tauzin, R-LA; Bill HR 1542 ; vote number 2002-45 on Feb 27, 2002

    Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.

    Stearns is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:

    Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.

    Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001

    Criminal penalties for e-mail spamming.

    Stearns co-sponsored the Anti-Spamming Act:

    Title: To protect individuals, families, and Internet service providers from unsolicited and unwanted electronic mail.

      Summary:

    1. Amends the Federal criminal code to provide criminal penalties for intentionally transmitting ten or more unsolicited commercial electronic mail messages to one or more protected computers in the United States, with the knowledge that such messages are accompanied by or contain materially false or misleading information as to the identity of the initiator.

    2. Allows a provider of Internet access service to bring an action against a person using such service to commit a violation of this Act.

    3. Allows certain statutory damages under such an action.

    4. Prescribe marks or notices to be included in electronic mail that contains a sexually oriented advertisement in order to inform the recipient of such fact.

    5. Provides penalties for not including such marks or notices.

    6. Requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress a detailed analysis of the effectiveness and enforcement, and need for modification, of this Act.
    Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR718 on Feb 14, 2001

    Permanent ban on state & local taxation of Internet access.

    Stearns co-sponsored permanently banning state & local taxation of Internet access

    Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2007 - Amends the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

    Related bills: H.R.743, H.R.1077, H.R.3678, S.156.

    Source: Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.2128) 07-S2128 on Oct 2, 2007

    End net neutrality; allow tiered Internet service.

    Stearns co-sponsored Internet Freedom Act

    Congressional Summary:Prohibits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from proposing, promulgating, or issuing any regulations with regard to the Internet or IP-enabled services. Makes such prohibition non-applicable to regulations that are determined necessary to:

    1. prevent damage to U.S. national security;
    2. ensure public safety; or
    3. assist or facilitate any actions taken by federal and state law enforcement agencies.

    Congressional Findings:

    OnTheIssues Explanation: This bill opposes "net neutrality," the principle that all users should have equal access to the Internet. By disallowing FCC regulation, commercial carriers could create "tiered service" (which is the opposite of "net neutrality"). Tiered Internet service would allow, for example, faster access for companies who paid more (such as for ads).

    Source: H.R.96 11-HR096 on Jan 5, 2011

    Prohibit the return of the Fairness Doctrine.

    Stearns signed Broadcaster Freedom Act

    A bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), notwithstanding any other provision of any Act, from having the authority to require broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the Fairness Doctrine.

    Source: S.34&H.R.226 2009-S34 on Jan 6, 2009

    No performance royalties for radio music.

    Stearns signed Local Radio Freedom Act

    Source: SCR.14&HCR.49 2009-SCR14 on Mar 30, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Technology: Cliff Stearns on other issues:
    FL Gubernatorial:
    Rick Scott
    FL Senatorial:
    Bill Nelson
    Connie Mack IV
    George LeMieux
    Marco Rubio

    Retiring to run for other office:

    Running for President:
    TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

    Running for Mayor:
    CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

    Running for Governor:
    IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
    WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

    Running for Senate:
    AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
    CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
    FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
    HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
    IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
    MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
    MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
    ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
    NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
    NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
    NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
    WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
    Lost Primary 2012:
    IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
    NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
    OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
    OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
    PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
    PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
    TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

    Retiring 2012:
    AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
    AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
    CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
    CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
    CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
    CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
    CA-26:David Dreier(R)
    CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
    IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
    IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
    IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
    KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
    MA-1:John Olver(D)
    MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
    MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
    NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
    NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
    NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
    NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
    NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
    NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
    OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
    OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
    PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
    TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
    WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
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    Page last updated: Jun 10, 2012