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Public Citizen: Keep Net-Neutrality Rider Out of Budget Act

Now that there is a budget bill framework, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, budget committees in both the House and Senate will need to rewrite their respective appropriations bills to add to that framework. But those bills are loaded with riders, including one added to the FCC appropriation that would invalidate the FCC's Title II-based network-neutrality rules.

Advocacy group Public Citizen, for one, is advising a no-rider policy for the budget bill and singled out the FCC rider for special mention.

Saying "inappropriate policy riders" have been attached by the hundreds, Public Citizen listed six, and referring to the FCC appropriations rider, said it would "roll back strong net-neutrality rules and prevent the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules that ensure Internet openness and affordability."

The White House has come out in support of the bill, with the caveat that it not contain any "ideological riders."

The House Appropriations Committee approved an FCC budget bill with a rider that would outright block the FCC's enforcement of the new network-neutrality rules, which went into effect June 12. The bill also included an amendment that would grandfather TV joint-sales agreements that the FCC had voted to unwind.

An FCC budget bill approved out of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee includes a rider would prevent the FCC from regulating rates under its new Title II-based network-neutrality rules, but would not block the rules outright.

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.