Tags: GOP | Obama | net neutrality | Sen. John Thune

WSJ: GOP to Battle Obama over Net Neutrality Rules

Monday, 05 Jan 2015 09:15 AM

Republicans will be stepping up the fight this month against the Obama administration’s proposals to control broadband Internet providers in the battle over net neutrality, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on new regulations in February that would classify broadband as a utility and make providers face far greater government restrictions.

Supporters of the regulations say they are being created to safeguard net neutrality, the notion that all Internet traffic should be treated the same, with one speed for all online traffic.

However, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mike O'Reilly has admitted that web surfers would be hit with an "immediate" new tax for their Internet use if net neutrality becomes the law.

O’Reilly said that if the FCC sides with President Barack Obama, who threw his support behind net neutrality after the November elections, Internet providers would promptly pass a new set of costs on to their customers.

But Republicans, who are set to run both the House and the Senate, believe the proposals are another case of government overreach and plan to fight them. Conservatives, in particular, say that the strict controls in the industry will hold back Internet innovation for years to come.

“The regulatory tools at the FCC’s disposal are outdated and its previous efforts to create rules to regulate the Internet were struck down by the courts,” South Dakota Sen. John Thune said.

“It’s hard to imagine that its new attempt will escape legal challenges and avoid the kind of regulatory uncertainty that harms Internet innovation and investment.”

Republicans could introduce legislation to block the proposals or slash the FCC’s budget, or they may even attempt to apply the rarely-used Congressional Review Act that permits Congress to invalidate rules brought out by federal agencies, the Journal noted. But the president has the power to veto any such move.

“There are many paths that opponents of strong net neutrality rules can follow in the Congress,” Gene Kimmelman, president of the group Public Knowledge, which supports strong net neutrality rules, told the newspaper. “However if the White House remains firmly in favor of strong net neutrality rules, all legislation is likely to fail.”

In the upcoming weeks before the FCC votes on the new measures, Republican-led committees in both chambers are expected to put FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler through the ringer while attempting to prevent the passage of the new regulations on broadband providers, the Journal reported.

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Republicans will be stepping up the fight this month against the Obama administration’s proposals to control broadband Internet providers in the battle over net neutrality, The Wall Street Journal reported.
GOP, Obama, net neutrality, Sen. John Thune
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2015-15-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 09:15 AM
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