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Walden Amendment Aims To Block FCC Funds For Net Neutrality

February 15, 2011

House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden said Tuesday that he has filed an amendment that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from using any funds to implement the network neutrality order it passed in December.

During a speech at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners winter meeting, the Oregon Republican said he filed the amendment to the continuing resolution that would provide continuing funds for government operations, which the House is set to start considering Tuesday.

Walden said his effort to block FCC funding for the net neutrality rules is an attempt to "lay down a marker and try to put this on hold."

He said he and other Republicans are still also likely to seek to block the net neutrality rules by offering a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, saying it's a "cleaner way to go." But said trying to block funding offers "another path forward."

In reiterating his opposition to the rules aimed at barring broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content, services and applications, Walden said it is "absurd" when the FCC claims it is not regulating the Internet. He also argued that the rules disadvantage broadband providers over other Web companies.

"Why is the FCC shielding Web companies and selectively applying these rules only against broadband providers," he said. The FCC "should not be picking winners and losers by advantaging Web companies over broadband providers."

Net neutrality is expected to dominate a hearing Wednesday before Walden's subcommittee, where all five FCC commissioners are scheduled to appear.

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