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Blogger/Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Republican Lawmakers Immediately Promised To Work To Stop FCC Internet Rules

Update 2:10 PM CST: U.S. Senate voted 71 to 26 to ratify the New START treaty with Russia. Also, the Senate using a voice vote approved a bill to provide $4.2 billion in compensation and long-term health-care benefits to first responders who became ill from working at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks. The House is expected to immediately consider bill.
---------------
The Senate reconvened at 9 AM and resumed post-cloture consideration of the New START treaty, Treaty Doc. 111-5. The Senate may consider a pending amendment to the treaty from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and amendments to the resolution of ratification to accompany the treaty from Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Jim Risch (R-ID), and John McCain (R-AZ).  If all post-cloture time is not used, a vote on ratification of the START Treaty could come this afternoon.

Senate may take up a 9/11 responders health bill and several nominations, including that of James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General, before the Senate finishes its work in the lame duck session.

This morning, the Senate passed by unanimous consent H.R. 6523, the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Authorization bill, which had been stripped of controversial provisions Democrats included that had prevented its passage earlier this year.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 79-16 to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 4th. Prior to that vote, the Senate voted 82-14 to invoke cloture on the vehicle for the CR.

The Senate also voted 67-28 to invoke cloture on the START Treaty. Following that vote, the Senate rejected amendments to the treaty from Sens. John Ensign (R-NV), Jim Risch, and Roger Wicker (R-MS), and two amendments from Sen. Kyl.

This morning, President Obama signed the bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Policy in the military.

Today’s Washington Post headline gives a good summary of the reaction to the FCC’s vote yesterday: “FCC approves net-neutrality rules; criticism is immediate.” The Post notes, “The regulations passed the Federal Communications Commission along party lines, with two Democratic commissioners reluctantly siding with agency Chairman Julius Genachowski in a 3-2 vote. The rules seek to uphold a principle called net neutrality, under which Internet service providers are supposed to give equal treatment to all legal Web content on their networks. But the measure met with swift opposition Tuesday. Republican lawmakers immediately promised to work to overthrow the rules, while analysts predicted that cable and telecom giants will file lawsuits challenging the FCC's authority to regulate the broadband market.”

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal today, John Fund elaborates on just why the FCC’s decision is so troublesome. “The Federal Communications Commission's new ‘net neutrality’ rules, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote yesterday, represent a huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activist groups and foundations. The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the Internet like a public utility. There's little evidence the public is demanding these rules, which purport to stop the non-problem of phone and cable companies blocking access to websites and interfering with Internet traffic. Over 300 House and Senate members have signed a letter opposing FCC Internet regulation, and there will undoubtedly be even less support in the next Congress. Yet President Obama, long an ardent backer of net neutrality, is ignoring both Congress and adverse court rulings, especially by a federal appeals court in April that the agency doesn't have the power to enforce net neutrality. He is seeking to impose his will on the Internet through the executive branch.”

Indeed, as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, explained in a floor speech following the vote, “The FCC pursuit of net neutrality regulations involves claiming authority under the Communications Act that they do not have. Congress did not provide the FCC authority to regulate how Internet service providers manage their network, not anywhere in the Communications Act nor any other statute administered by the Commission.”

Sen. Hutchison urged her fellow members of Congress to oppose the FCC’s new rules, saying, “This is a time for Congress to take a stand. These regulations will raise uncertainty about the methods and practices communications companies may use to manage their networks. Heavy-handed regulation threatens investment and innovation in broadband services, placing valuable American jobs at risk. . . . We will have a resolution of disapproval at the appropriate time in the next session of Congress.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a video responding to the ruling yesterday, “Our economy has benefited from the rapid growth of the Internet, and that’s due in large part to the lack of government involvement. . . . I, along with several of my colleagues, have urged the FCC Chairman to abandon this flawed approach. . . . The Internet is a valuable resource and it must be left alone.

Tags: US Senate, Start Treaty, FCC, Internet, free speech To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:58 PM - Post Link

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