House Appropriations OKs Net Neutrality-Blocking Bill

The House Appropriations Committee has approved a bill (the FY 2016 Financial Services and General Government bill) that would block the FCC's enforcement of its new network neutrality rules, which went into effect June 12.

The House Financial Services Subcommittee June 11 approved the bill and underlying amendment and sent it on to the full committee. The bill also would cut the FCC's budget substantially and includes an amendment that would force publication of drafts of FCC decisions before they are voted.

The bill's passage was slammed by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee, respectively. 

“House Appropriations Committee Republicans kept up their business-as-usual attack today on the Federal Communications Commission, but these efforts hold the potential for extraordinarily bad outcomes for American consumers," they said in a joint statement. "The appropriations bill approved by the Committee undermines the FCC’s consumer protection mission by slashing the Commission’s budget and attaching a litany of partisan policy riders, even on FCC issues that the Energy and Commerce Committee has addressed in a bipartisan manner. This is yet another attempt by House Republicans to wrangle a political win at the expense of good policy for the American people.”

The bill also included an amendment that would grandfather TV joint sales agreements that the FCC had voted to unwind.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.