Net Neutrality Rider May Not Advance in Final Spending Bill

Earlier this year, Republicans on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees successfully incorporated a directive in their government-funding bills that would prohibit the implementation of the FCC’s controversial net neutrality order.  However, the possibility of such a provision making the final cut in an end-of-year spending package is looking slimmer.  The Hill this week reported that Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, indicated as much given the issue’s controversy.  Regarding defunding any work to carry out the Internet order, he said, “We have a lot of our members that would love to do that. I would certainly number myself among those.” However, he suggested that some other important riders to the funding legislation may take priority in a negotiation.  The appropriations bills have numerous other provisions legislators must also consider, such as pro-life language and sections aimed at the IRS, including a “prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.”

NRB opposed the partisan FCC vote in February imposing new heavy-handed regulations on the Internet. While the net neutrality order went into effect on June 12, a court battle to overturn this rule is underway in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments are scheduled to take place on December 4.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: November 6, 2015

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