Why Republicans May Not Support Net Neutrality

Republicans who may want to support net neutrality are caught between interest groups and the Tea Party, according to The Hill. A bill floated by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is probably not going to survive the process as a result.

Net roots groups are probably happy to hear that – many, but not all – consider the bill to be a watered down measure that takes authority away from the FCC and makes many concessions to telecom companies. Nevertheless, Republicans who avoided the ire of the Tea Party during primaries are afraid to be on the wrong side of the issue.  

"I hope [GOP House members] keep in mind that the fired-up group of people this cycle is the Tea Party," Seton Motley told The Hill. Motley runs the group Less Government, which is against what it sees as "government regulations."

While Democratic lawmakers involved with the legislation are trying to get GOP support during the lame-duck session, signs point to an uphill battle.

"Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have taken measures to control the healthcare industry, the auto industry, the banking industry and the insurance industry," Culberson told The Hill on Monday. "It comes as no surprise that they attempt to control commercial activity over the Internet before they lose control of Congress."

Supporting a bill that creates new rules will be a hard vote for Republican members to make because they have been opposed to the policy. Active opposition from Tea Party groups could make it even tougher for Republicans to support it.

Thirty-five Tea Party groups spoke out against net-neutrality rules earlier this year in a letter to the FCC , and vowed to organize around the issue.

More details on the groups that will provide Republicans in the house cover (should they need it) can be found in this Hill Report. But as the report points out, it won’t protect them from the Tea Party.

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