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GOP Taking Aim Again At Net Neutrality Through Spending Measures GOP Taking Aim Again At Net Neutrality Through Spending Measures

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Congress

GOP Taking Aim Again At Net Neutrality Through Spending Measures

June 15, 2011

House Republicans are not giving up on their quest to block the Federal Communications Commission from implementing its open Internet rules.

The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee is set to take up a fiscal 2012 spending bill on Thursday that includes language barring the FCC from using any of its funding to put into effect the rules, which bar broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content, services or applications.

The appropriations bill also would cut funding for the FCC by $17 million over the fiscal 2011 level and would provide $40 million less than what President Obama asked for in his budget request.

While many supporters of net neutrality complained that the FCC's rules didn't go far enough, they have opposed congressional Republican efforts to kill the commission's open Internet order. Republicans say the rules amount to government control of the Internet and say the administration has colluded with advocates.

"Even much of the telecommunications industry, including AT&T and the cable industry, has accepted the rather weak rules the commission approved," Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said in a statement. "That the committee majority would reopen this debate through back-door legislative tactics only adds insult to the injury of the attack on the fundamental concept of an equal-opportunity Internet."

House Republicans added similar language blocking the FCC from using any funding to implement its open Internet order, also known as network neutrality, to their version of the 2011 spending bill approved earlier this year .

Even if the House passes the bill with the defunding language still in it, it will likely be blocked by Senate Democrats or President Obama, who supports the FCC's open Internet rules.

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