Four Democratic senators urged Senate leaders Wednesday to resist an effort by House Republicans to block the Federal Communications Commission from implementing the network neutrality rules it approved in December.
The four wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attacking last week's House vote on the continuing resolution would bar the FCC from using its funding to implement its FCC rules. They also objected to attempts to block the network neutrality rules by filing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers a limited amount of time to halt a federal rule from going into effect.
In addition to co-sponsoring the defunding amendment to the continuing resolution, House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., has filed a resolution of disapproval under the CRA.
"We ask you to object to any similar efforts here in the Senate. Such action aims to strip the FCC of its legal authority over modern communications and hand control of the Internet over to the owners of the wires that deliver information and services over them," Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Al Franken, D-Minn., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee wrote.
Critics of the net neutrality rules argue that they will stifle innovation and investment into broadband and say the FCC is overstepping its authority by dealing with an issue that should be left to Congress.
"There are those who claim to oppose the order because Congress should write a new law to deal with broadband communications instead," the senators wrote. "We are willing and interested in working with our colleagues on modernization of the Communications Act. But that does not mean that the agency should stop doing its job under current law."
McConnell, however, is unlikely to be sympathetic to the senators' pleas given that he co-sponsored with Senate Commerce ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a Senate version of the resolution of disapproval under the CRA.