As Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler put it, today is a "red-letter day." Our historic net neutrality rules go into effect today, but that hasn't stopped some in Congress from trying to reverse the FCC’s Open Internet rules.
A House subcommittee voted Thursday morning to gut the FCC’s ability to enforce the new rules. At a hearing, Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY, called out a bill that undercuts net neutrality a “fundamentally flawed effort from both policy and procedural perspectives,” with language guaranteeing lengthy legal bickering.
And if neutering the Open Internet weren’t bad enough, the bill also cuts funding for the Internal Revenue Service by $900 million. The IRS now receives less funding than it did in 2004, despite the increase in taxpayers in the corresponding years. And for the Securities and Exchange Commission, - “our cop on the beat for Wall Street”, as Serrano referred to it – the bill would cut $222 million from the President’s request and deny funding to enforce political spending disclosure.
“The FCC took an important step in February to help consumers and businesses alike by ensuring their Internet content and access is treated the same way as everyone else’s,” said Serrano. “This rider would take away these important [measures] to protect the interests of a few large corporations.”
Common Cause agrees, as do the 4 million Americans who contacted the FCC demanding an Open Internet. The Internet has become a vital part of American life, providing citizens with greater access to news, economic opportunities, and vital services.
Net neutrality is essential to safeguard the democratic nature of the Internet and ensure the future of online competition and innovation. Congress should get on the right side of this fight. And quick.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy
Tags: Broadband for All