Democrats rally support against Republican bid to overturn FCC net neutrality rules

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry sent a letter Friday to colleagues in the Senate rallying support against the Republican-sponsored Resolution of Disapproval to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality regulations.

“The Senate will consider a Congressional Review Act proposal to overturn the Open Internet protections that the Federal Communications Commission put into place last year,” wrote Kerry.

The FCC passed the rules in a party-line vote in December 2010 to regulate Internet Service Providers. If the vote is not passed in the Senate to overturn the rules, they are set to take effect on November 20.

Kerry urged colleagues to vote against the legislation, claiming that “if the effort is successful, it will stifle innovation and discourage investment in the next potential Google or Amazon.”

“It will set the precedent that this Congress is prepared to deny independent regulators their ability to execute the law,” said Kerry. “That would put at risk health and safety rules, environmental protections, workers rights and every other public protection that our agencies enforce that some in Congress do not like.”

Advocacy groups in favor of the FCC’s rules also rallied supporters to oppose the upcoming vote.

Public Knowledge spokesman Art Brodsky sent an email to supporters the same day, stating that it outlined “the very good reasons why they shouldn’t support the resolution coming to the floor next week to nullify the FCC’s Open Internet rules.”

Progressive activist group Demand Progress — also a supporter of Fight for the Future’s project — warned its listserv members that the vote was to come on Tuesday and that they should call their senator to block it.

“The Senate is voting to kill Net Neutrality on TUESDAY — it’s a power grab by big Telecom so they can control what information you’re able to access online,” said the email.

When asked to confirm the Tuesday speculation, however, a GOP Senate spokesman told TheDC that they could not confirm the day the vote is set to happen next week.

On Thursday Josh Levy of Free Press’ “Save the Internet Coalition” blogged, “Next week the Senate is expected to vote on a measure that could kill the Internet as we know it.”

Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said at a press conference Thursday, “Forcing broadband companies to say, ‘Mother may I?’ to the federal government is going to delay the implementation of the new products and services getting to the market; it’s going to increase costs to consumers.”

Hutchison remarked at The Heritage Foundation Tuesday that the vote to overturn the FCC rules is a “jobs” bill and an international competition issue.

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