Senate GOP Pushing to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

Hutchison planning end run around Democrats

Now that the Federal Communications Commission's controversial net neutrality rules have been published, Senate Republicans are stepping up their efforts to kill the rules, which prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down legal content from their competitors, with a resolution of disapproval. 

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Tex., ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC, said in a statement that she was taking the lead on turning back the FCC's "onerous net neutrality restrictions. I will push for a Senate vote this fall on my resolution of disapproval."

While it was fairly easy to get such a resolution passed in the House, where the GOP has a majority, it will be a tougher fight in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Debate over the rules has split along party lines, with the GOP taking the position that the FCC is overstepping its authority by trying to regulate the Internet and the Democrats positioning the rules as preserving a free and open Internet for consumers.

Hutchison will need 30 Senators to sign a petition in order to maneuver the bill around the Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., who supports net neutrality. 

After that, the resolution could not be filibustered, and would need only a simple majority to pass. With 47 Republicans in the Senate, that means Hutchison and the resolution wouldn't have far to go.  

If the GOP managed to rope in a few Democrats and get the resolution past the Senate, it would then face its greatest obstacle: President Obama's veto pen. Though there is some question about whether he would override the wishes of both the House and the Senate, he's close to this FCC and its chairman, his law school friend Julius Genachowski, and net neutrality is a favorite liberal issue. 

Publish date: September 23, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT