Senate Republicans Scrap Anti-Net Neutrality Push
Senate Republicans have stopped their push to prevent funding for the Federal Communication Commission as a protest of proposed net neutrality rules.
"While we are still generally opposed to net neutrality regulations, we have decided to hold off on the amendment because [FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] approached us and we are beginning a dialogue," said a staff member on the committee.
An official at the FCC confirmed that Genachowski, who on Monday introduced a proposal for net neutrality rules, called Republican members who criticized his move, saying it could hurt the businesses of network operators. The call was intended to begin a conversation about the proposal that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking Web content and services.
Earlier this week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), ranking member of Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said she would introduce an amendment to an Interior Appropriations bill that would tie up funding at the agency for new regulatory mandates. Observers said, however, that the move was unlikely to be approved in the Democrat-majority Congress.
Senators John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), David Vitter (R-La.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D. co-sponsored the amendment.
Rebecca Arbogast, head of technology policy research at Stifel Nicholas, had said the move was a standard vehicle for Congress to block what regulatory agencies were trying to achieve in the executive branch or in a regulatory agency.
"But the likelihood of it getting passed it pretty low. This is standard procedure and a time-honored tradition but the Republicans are in the minority."
September 22, 2009; 7:45 PM ET
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