WASHINGTON - The top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee filed an amendment on Thursday to halt U.S. regulators' plans to act on contentious Internet traffic rules next week.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is due to vote on Dec. 21 on so called "net neutrality" rules and determine whether to allow high-speed Internet providers to block or slow information or charge websites for a "fast lane" to reach users more quickly.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, vehemently opposed the proposal laid out by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowki two weeks ago, saying she would work to halt any FCC rules governing the Internet.
"The FCC chairman's attempt to impose new government regulations on the Internet is unnecessary government overreach that will stifle future innovation," Hutchison said in a statement.
An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment on the senator's actions.
The amendment would have to be attached to a permanent spending bill lawmakers are struggling to pass before current government funding expires at midnight on Dec. 18.
Analysts said this week that the FCC is likely to adopt the Internet traffic rules.
Hutchison's amendment would stop the FCC from using public funds to implement any rule that would regulate Internet traffic. Seven other Republicans have co-sponsored the amendment.
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