Lawmaker warns that FCC rules could crush political websites

For Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who's leading the charge to stop "net neutrality" regulations, the possibility that political content on the web, like the Drudge Report or Fox News, could be regulated is a major motivation.

"When it comes to the content side, I have the sense that this is the very beginning of the net neutrality debate," the Tennessee Republican told the Washington Examiner. "I've been very concerned about net neutrality turning out to be the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet, and having that applied to websites."

"The Internet is not broken. It does not need FCC or FEC [Federal Elections Commission] governance in order to carry on," added Blackburn, the vice chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

All five FCC commissioners are set to testify before the committee Tuesday morning. It's been nearly two years since they last appeared before the committee together, but it will be chairman Tom Wheeler's ninth visit to Congress this year. Committee members were expected to grill them on a range of issues, including an alleged lack of transparency and what they see as "mission creep" in the commission's decisions to expand its own authority.

In advance testimony prepared for the committee, commissioner Mike O'Rielly said he could see the FCC extending its power to so-called "edge providers," or entities that connect to the web. "It is easy to envision a scenario where the FCC would undertake an even broader examination of the business practices of edge providers or online businesses as potentially harmful to the so-called 'virtuous cycle' in some unforeseen way," O'Rielly wrote.