Democrats Give Up on Net Neutrality Bill

Net Neutrality is stalled until further notice in the House of Representatives. A bill sponsored by House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) was shelved late last night after Democrats realized that the bill would not have enough bipartisan support to pass. With this bill now off the table, and not likely to be brought up in the lame duck session following mid-term elections, the onus to implement net neutrality rules falls back on the FCC.

But time may not be on the side of proponents of net neutrality – especially if power shifts back to Republicans in the House and Senate. It is possible that Republicans would propose a bill that implicitly forbids the FCC from reclassifying broadband service providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

Oddly enough, Waxman put the responsibility back on the FCC – even after Congress told them to back off a few months ago.

"If Congress can’t act, the FCC must," Waxman said in a statement. He added that "this development is a loss for consumers."

Of course, sink or swim, Waxman should have brought the bill up for a discussion and a vote on the floor, but many pols just want to get the hell out of Washington and back on the campaign trail.

Interest group Public Knowledge issued the following statement, which sums up the feelings of ardent net neutrality supporters across the country:

"The FCC must act now to protect consumers by reinstating its authority over broadband," Gigi Sohn, president of the public interest group Public Knowledge said. "We expect the FCC to do so to carry out one of the fundamental promises of the Obama administration."

Source: Associated Press

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