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OMB Advises President to Veto Net Neutrality Bill

As the House prepares to debate and vote on a bill to re-regulate internet service providers under Title II of the Communications Act — perhaps as early as Tuesday (April 9) — the Trump administration has weighed in favor of a veto it makes it to the president's desk.

In a statement of administration policy Monday (April 8), the Office of Management and Budget said that it "strongly opposes" HR 1644, the Save the Internet Act, which it points out would nullify the Restoring Internet Freedom order motormanned by President Donald Trump's FCC chair appointee, Ajit Pai.

“Last year, the FCC returned to the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop and thrive for nearly two decades by promoting internet freedom and encouraging network investment,” the OMB said. ”Since the new rule was adopted in 2018, consumers have benefited from a greater than 35% increase in average, fixed broadband download speeds, and the United States rose to sixth, from thirteenth, in the world for those speeds. In 2018, fiber was also made available to more new homes than in any previous year, and capital investment by the Nation’s top six internet service providers increased by $2.3 billion.”

The OMB said the Save the Internet Act would undermine that success and return the ”heavy hand“ of government, concluding, “If H.R. 1644 were presented to the President, his advisers would recommend that he veto it.”

Trump is on the record as supporting ISP deregulation, but with this president past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.

That is only if the bill gets that far. Most observers think it unlikely the bill will pass in the Republican-controlled Senate after almost certainly passing the Democratic-controlled House.

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.