Dr. Boozman's Check-up

While both sides discuss the best direction to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Congress isn’t just sitting idly by waiting.  We are tackling important issues both at home and abroad.

Today in the Senate we passed a historic trade bill to help America’s companies, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers compete in the Russian market.  Arkansas’s economy stands to really benefit from tearing down these artificial trade barriers. Last year, we exported $56 million worth of goods to Russia. The more we can increase trade abroad, the more opportunities we have to add jobs here at home.

Across on the other side of the Capitol, the House sent a loud message to the rest of the world to keep their hands off the Internet by unanimously passing a Senate resolution that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet yesterday. We passed the resolution a few months ago by unanimous consent in the Senate.

As a cosponsor of the resolution, I am pleased to see overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral support for keeping control of the Internet free and open.  

Passage of this resolution is much more than just a symbolic vote.  United Nations member countries are currently meeting to consider taking more control over how the Internet operates and imposing limitations on user’s freedoms.   Essentially, supporters of this effort want to put the Internet under control of the United Nations.

One only needs to look at the online restrictions imposed by oppressive regimes in China and Cuba to see what types of regulations they would like the UN to impose.  This isn’t about making a clear set of international standards for the Internet, it is about protecting dictators. The importance of the Internet in the Arab Spring uprising gives these regimes a legitimate reason to fear citizen’s ability to organize and protest online, so they want to continue to repress and restrict Internet usage in their countries and use an international agreement as cover.

Economic growth brings jobs to communities here at home. Free expression brings democracy abroad. Innovation brings life-saving advancements to the world.  An unfettered, open Internet brings us all of that.  That’s why we need to keep control of the Internet out of the hands of foreign governments.