The Texas Republican senator’s latest crusade is to block an Obama administration plan to give up U.S. oversight of domain names to international supervision, warning in a Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday that could be a threat to freedom. He warned against giving power to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a private non-profit group based in Los Angeles.
“Imagine an internet run like China or Russia, that punish and incarcerate those who engage in political dissent,” Cruz said. Earlier on the Senate floor, Cruz said he didn’t want “to tell our children and our children’s children what it was once like when the internet wasn’t censored, wasn’t in the control of the foreign governments."
Cruz and some senior Republicans want to block the transfer as part of the stopgap spending bill required to avoid a government shutdown Oct. 1, although neither party has explicitly threatened to block the measure over the fight.
The issue drew notice elsewhere in Washington. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that Cruz’s position “is, frankly, not really supported by anybody” and called for a spending measure without extra language. In the House, Representative Bill Flores of Texas, head of the influential Republican Study Committee, recommended his chamber move first with a spending measure that should include language blocking the internet transition.
Republican leaders are hoping to wrap up a deal with Democrats and the White House quickly, but the internet issue is among about a half dozen yet to be resolved, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told reporters Tuesday.
Thune predicted the funding bill would block the internet transition.
“They’re trying to work out what that would look like, what would be effective in terms of putting the brakes on this,” he told reporters.
If the GOP is willing to shut down the government in a presidential election year over ICANN, then things just might get really interesting in November. Please proceed, senator.