House Republicans try to take down net neutrality by gutting FCC in fiscal budget

In their latest attempt to thwart new Open Internet regulations, House Republicans have buried riders in a 156-page budget bill that would stop the FCC from enforcing the regs until courts decide several challenges to them.

The House GOP's 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, unveiled Wednesday, contains three riders buried about two-thirds in that prevent the FCC from enforcing its net neutrality rules, pending what could be years of litigation.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is among the organizations and companies suing the FCC to stop the new Internet regs.

The $20.2 billion budgetary bill allocates $315 million for the FCC, a $25 million setback from 2014 and $73 million less than the agency requested. The bill also requires the FCC to make proposed regulations publicly available 21 days before the agency votes on them, and it prohibits the FCC from regulating rates for both wireline and wireless Internet services.

Said Harold Feld, senior VP at Public Knowledge, in a responding statement: "Worst of all, the Appropriations Committee ban on FCC enforcement that 'directly or indirectly' regulates prices would prevent the FCC from performing even the most basic consumer protection action, such as the recent FCC enforcement against wireless carriers requiring them to refund charges for services customers did not order or had discontinued. 

"The Appropriations Committee would rather declare open season to rob American broadband subscribers with overcharges and ripoffs than allow the FCC to do its job," he added. 

For more:
- read this House of Representatives press release
- read this DSL Reports story
- read this Vice story

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