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Rep. Blackburn Wants to Defund Net Neutrality Rules

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is vowing to use the appropriations process to try and block implementation of new FCC net neutrality rules.

That would be a tough ask on short order given that absent a court stay — and even with a stay, cable and telco operators argue — rules go into effect June 12.

Blackburn, a longtime and strong opponent of net neutrality rules, is vice chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a member of the subcommittee dealing with the appropriations bill to fund the FCC.

It would not be the first time Republican legislators threatened to block net neutrality rules by defunding implementation, Blackburn pointed out. The house voted in 2011 to block funding for implementation of the 2010 Open Internet order, but the Democratically-controlled Senate did not. The Senate is in Republican hands, but if it got that far, the White House would almost certainly veto.

But Blackburn says something has to be done to stop the FCC, which she suggests was doing the bidding of the White house. “We know that President Obama’s plan to take over the Internet was written by liberal activists behind closed doors at the White House and will result in up to $11 billion in new fees and taxes for hard working Americans,” Blackburn said.

Cable and telco operators are more focused on coming up with bipartisan legislation that would actually uphold the bright-line rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, but would preclude Title II reclassification to sustain those rules.

There was also talk of a legislative effort to nullify the rules, but that is an even longer shot.

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.