Renew ICANN contract to stop Internet transition

Feb. 13, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) CEO Fadi Chehade’s recent comments that “Those who are genuinely committed to the quality of the proposal for the US government, are correct that we should not put deadlines. But those who for their own purposes try to delay the process, should make no mistake that we know that the most powerful tool to kill something is to delay it”:

“Mr. Chehade is correct. The surest way to stop something from happening is to first delay it. And that is exactly what Congress should do, by insisting that the Commerce Department renew the current Internet governance contract for at least two more years. ICANN obviously is very concerned about its so-called ‘window of opportunity,’ so Congress should deny it. What’s the rush?

“To those committed to the freedom that the First Amendment affords through government control over Internet governance, there should be no rush to sacrifice those protections so lightly, and without any Congressional involvement as provided for under the Constitution. The free and open Internet depends on there being a remedy in the event of censorship. Right now, there is Commerce Department control and oversight over the contract with ICANN, judicial remedy and, ultimately, the difficulty of passing legislation through Congress all serve as firewalls against foreign capture of these functions.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Senate GOP modifies Internet resolution to make clear no approval for Internet giveaway

Feb. 5, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement thanking Senate Republicans for including additional language in a resolution raising awareness of the Internet giveaway that states “Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as congressional approval of any proposal by ICANN to transition the stewardship of the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority to the global multistakeholder community”:

“We thank Senators Hatch and Blunt for modifying their resolution to include language that makes it clear that Congress has not approved the Commerce Department relinquishment of its Internet stewardship functions property. Government oversight of those functions with its First Amendment umbrella has protected the free and open Internet for almost 17 years, and that is not property that should be relinquished lightly, and certainly not without a vote of Congress as the Constitution provides for.

“The fact is, there will never be protections offered by ICANN and the international community as broad as the First Amendment and federal court remedy that currently exists today. If the Commerce Department were to engage in censorship via its oversight of Internet governance, there would be a clear remedy in federal court. Without the government oversight, however, as was seen in the 2005 Ninth Circuit decision, Verisign v. McNeil, the non-profit ICANN cannot be sued on First Amendment grounds, since they are not a government entity.

“For that reason, we are comfortable with the current Internet governance contract with ICANN continuing indefinitely. The way to keep the Internet free and open is to keep it under the protection of the First Amendment.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Senate Dems block Homeland Security funding again, ALG urges bill to the floor

Feb. 5, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Senate Democrats to cease their filibuster of Department of Homeland Security funding:

For the third time, Senate Democrats are jeopardizing homeland security to protect President Obama’s unconstitutional action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. With all the threats facing the homeland, now is not the time to allow politics to interfere with our nation’s security. Let the bill come to the floor as is.

“If Senate Democrats wish to offer an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security funding, they can do that, but they need to allow the bill to be acted upon. If they can muster the votes to change it, it will be changed. As it stands, funding expires at the end of the month, and the world is not getting any safer.

“In the meantime, we urge the Senate majority to continue holding cloture votes on this important piece of legislation so that the process can move forward, and members have an opportunity to make their voices heard. The House has done its job. Now it’s time for the Senate to get to work.”

Attachments:

Feb 05 53 (52-47) Rejected On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 240
Feb 04 52 (53-47) Rejected On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 240
Feb 03 51 (51-48) Rejected On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 240

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Senate GOP to vote in favor of giving away Internet governance

Feb. 5, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Senate members to reject a resolution offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), that supports the Commerce Department relinquishing control over Internet governance to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) later this year:

“The Senate should reject any resolution that accepts the premise that the Internet should be given away to ICANN and global multistakeholders. Congress just voted for, and the President signed into law, a provision that prohibits the Commerce Department from relinquishing oversight of Internet governance this fiscal year. The Washington Post in a January 4 editorial agrees with our position that the U.S. government should keep control in order to protect Internet freedom.

“Yet, Hatch and Blunt, who voted in favor of the prohibition, now see fit to offer a resolution that supports the giveaway to foreign interests — sacrificing the First Amendment protections that U.S. government oversight affords for the free and open Internet. Hatch and Blunt would not even acknowledge the clear Congressional prohibition against the giveaway, and in doing so, are actively undermining the constitutional separation of powers, in supporting the transfer of government property without any clear Congressional authority to do so.

“The Hatch-Blunt resolution intends to raise public awareness of the Internet giveaway, and yet ignores the key controversy surrounding it, which is that the administration cannot perform the transfer without clear Congressional authority. The free and open Internet is too important to hand off to an unaccountable private foundation just to create a global monopoly on the domain name system and the assignment of IP addresses. We oppose this resolution in the strongest possible terms.”

Attachments:

“Protect the Internet: Keep the contract with ICANN,” Washington Post editorial, Jan. 4, 2015 at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/protect-the-internet-keep-the-contract-with-icann/2015/01/04/b1ff61c2-7bff-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html

“Congress Will Oversight ICANN: And You Can Take That to the Bank,” By Sophia Bekele, CircleID, Jan. 5, 2015 at http://www.circleid.com/posts/20150105_congress_will_oversight_icann_and_you_can_take_that_to_the_bank/

“AmericanExceptionalism.com,” By L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 1, 2015, at http://www.wsj.com/articles/l-gordon-crovitz-americanexceptionalism-com-1422832103

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership not free trade, but managed trade

Feb. 4, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Congress to reject President Barack Obama’s request for fast track trade authority on the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“The allure of the concept of free trade is like a siren song for many on the right. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a free trade agreement, it is a managed trade agreement negotiated in secret by governments and special interests seeking to maximize their individual economic interests. The only protector of the American people’s interests is a Congress that is fully engaged in the treaty ratification process. To give away the power to filibuster, amend, or delay consideration of a treaty negotiated by President Obama is a slap in the face of those Americans who voted to rein in this administration. We urge Congress not to grant Obama fast track trade authority.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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House to repeal Obamacare

Feb. 3, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising the House of Representatives for taking up legislation that will wholly repeal the health care law, including the individual mandate to purchase insurance:

“Today the House of Representatives will affirm that the Affordable Care Act is neither affordable, nor does is provide the kind of health care Americans want. In the weeks ahead, low income Americans who chose not to bow to the federal government’s demand that they buy health care will receive a punitive tax bill known as the individual mandate.

“Now is the time for our nation to have a substantive discussion about how to rebuild our nation’s health care system around a market based approach. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who is renowned as a health care expert, has put forward one comprehensive proposal that could well serve as a launch point for this conversation over the months ahead.

“In the meantime, Americans for Limited Government strongly commends the House and Speaker Boehner for making it clear that federal government run health care is not the answer, in fact, it is the problem.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Debt grew $1.1 trillion in 2014, not $484 billion

Feb. 2, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to the latest White House budget proposal for FY 2016:

“It is indeed mindless to be lectured on the need to end austerity by a President who has seen the national debt increase by more than $8 trillion since he became President.  It is equally ironic that while the President pointed to a budget deficit that has dropped to under $500 billion from in excess of $1.4 trillion during the early years of his presidency, he fails to recognize that in the same fiscal year, the national debt skyrocketed by justshy of $1.1 trillion, according to the U.S. Treasury.  He also fails to acknowledge that if over the past four years Congress had followed his path, the federal government would have continued to increase spending without regard for the long-term damage being done to our nation’s fiscal solvency.

“Now, President Obama pushes forward a $4 trillion budget proposal that makes no pretense of ever reaching balance, and is an extension of his stated desire to fundamentally transform America by further expanding the size and scope of the federal government.  While Obama’s budget is a meaningless document, and all of the real budget battles will be fought over the appropriations bills, it is truly a shame that the President has waved the white flag in the fight to restore fiscal sanity to the federal government, and in doing so, has ensured that those who depend upon social safety net programs will face a dire future as more and more of the budget is eaten up by unavoidable interest payments on the debt.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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NTIA’s Strickling acknowledges Congressional prohibition on Internet transfer, ALG urges contract renewal

Jan. 29, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to comments by Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling on January 27 to the State of the Net conference’s session, “Internet Functions in Transition: Is the US and the World Ready?” where he said, “we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract’s current expiration date of September 30, 2015” and “If the community needs more time, we have the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years”:

“We applaud Assistant Secretary Strickling for acknowledging Congress’ explicit prohibition in the omnibus on transferring Internet governance to ICANN this fiscal year. And we urge him to extend the contract by four years to allow sufficient time to allay any concerns over the potential transfer and not jeopardize the free and open Internet. It is clear that the transfer is not ready for primetime lacking both Congressional approval and certainty over the multistakeholder process.

“Extending the contract is not only the easiest thing to do, but given Congress’ clear prohibition on performing the transition prior the contract’s expiration, is the only thing to do.

“Americans for Limited Government urges the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which Strickling heads, not to attempt to find a cute way of getting around the Congressional prohibition. It is not, as Strickling said, ‘up to the community to determine a timeline that works best for stakeholders.’ The omnibus requires the agency to inform Congress by August 17 what its decision regarding the IANA functions contract will be. After Strickling’s statement, there had better not be a head-fake, for example, by simply allowing the contract to expire and transferring ownership of the IANA functions completely to ICANN without prior notice or Congress’ assent. That would be deceptive, unwise, and unconstitutional, since only Congress can transfer government property.”

Attachments:

“NTIA cannot perform Internet governance transfer without Congress,” By Americans for Limited Government senior editor Robert Romano, January 29, 2015 at http://netrightdaily.com/2015/01/john-thunes-education-free-open-internet/

IANA Functions Contract, October 1, 2012 at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/sf_26_pg_1-2-final_award_and_sacs.pdf

I.70 1352.270-70 PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE (APR 2010)

(a) The base period of performance of this contract is from

October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2015. If an option is exercised, the period of performance shall be extended through the end of that option period.

(b) The option periods that may be exercised are as follows:

Period             Start Date                    End Date
Option I           October 1, 2015          September 30, 2017
Option II          October 1, 2017          September 30, 2019

(c) The notice requirements for unilateral exercise of option periods are set out in FAR 52.217-9 (see Paragraph I.59 above).

I.59 52.217-9 OPTION TO EXTEND THE TERM OF THE CONTRACT (MAR 2000)

(a) The Government may extend the term of this contract by written notice to the Contractor within 15 calendar days before the expiration of the contract; provided that the Government gives the Contractor a preliminary written notice of its intent to extend at least 30 calendar days before the contract expires. The preliminary notice does not commit the Government to an extension.

(b) If the Government exercises this option, the extended contract shall be considered to include this option clause.

(c) The total duration of this contract, including the exercise of any options under this clause, shall not exceed seven years.

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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ALG opposes Heitkamp amendment to extend wind tax credit

Jan. 28, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement opposing passage of an amendment offered by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) that would extend the Wind Production Tax Credit for another five years:

“Americans for Limited Government strongly opposes Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill that would extend the Wind Production Tax Credit for another five years.  The Wind Production Tax Credit is just another example of the crony capitalism that runs rampant in Washington, D.C. distorting our nation’s energy markets while encouraging the non-economically sustainable wind farming of America.  After decades of being propped up by taxpayers, it is time for the mature wind energy industry to fairly compete in the marketplace rather than serving as a tax dodge for the wealthy.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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ALG response to U.S. Trade Rep. testimony on Trans-Pacific Partnership

 Jan. 27, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to testimony by the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal:

“The Senate Finance Committee inadvertently exposed the best reason why Congress should reject Trade Promotion Authority. The vast nature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership covering every aspect of the U.S. economy and life cries out for Congress to engage in thorough and complete consideration prior to ratification. Fast track by its nature puts time limits on Congressional consideration and eliminates Congressional capacity to amend portions of the signed Treaty to better reflect American interests.

“The answers provided by the U.S. Trade Representative were largely nothing more than reassuring generalities, however, an actual treaty is very specific and has the effect of overriding existing U.S. law. It would be a grievous error for Congress to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority based upon a series of ‘trust us’ promises. President Obama has proven himself time and again to not have earned that trust, and it would be a slap in the face to Americans of all political stripes to not hold any treaty he negotiates to the exact 2/3 vote ratification process that the Constitution sets forth.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703) 383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick manning.

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